Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Sr. Leonella, the Lioness
The body of Sr. Leonella Sgorbati may she rest in peace.
Though the facts are well known, I could not help but be struck by a few things.
1. As Sr. Leonella lay dying she said "I forgive". The similarities between her dying moments and St. Maria Goretti are unmistakable. I think we can look for her cause for canonization soon. How glorious to be martryed for the love of God. And how sad for the murderers who killed a nurse who had devoted her life to caring for babies and mothers and was in the process of beginning a new nursing school to train more nurses.
2. The website of the Consolata Missionaries can be found here. A gallery of pictures of the sisters can be seen here. At a time when so many orders have abandoned the habit, Sr. Leonella was gunned down proudly wearing the garb that distinguished her as a Bride of Christ. At 12:30pm she was shot as she crossed the street outside the hospital. She was no doubt going to lunch. Did her habit make her a target- undoubtedly.
3. Sr. Leonella used to say that there was a bullet with her name on it. Prophetic and in Somalia somehow inevitable I suppose. I admire someone who can joke about their death. The courage of a lioness she had.
4. Mogadishu, Somalia. It's like deja vu all over again. This is where it all began with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden and their attack on the West and civilization. And I am relieved that Sr. Leonella was not subject to the same indignities as our American soldiers who were dragged through the streets for the crime of feeding the hungry in Somalia.
No good deed ever goes unpunished. God bless Sr. Leonella and may her example inspire us to greater things than we might otherwise have attempted.