By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to all men and women of goodwill to join in prayer for peace on the African continent.
His call came after the Angelus Prayer as he addressed the crowds present in St. Peter’s Square.
Recalling the beatification on Saturday, in the northern Italian city of Piacenza, of Sister Lionella Sgorbati, the Pope said she was a Consolata Missionary who was killed in hatred of the faith in Mogadishu, Somalia in 2006.
“Her life, dedicated to the Gospel and to serving the poor and her martyrdom represent a sign of hope for Africa and for the entire world. Let us pray together for peace in Africa” he said.
Blessed Lionella Sgorbati
Sister Lionella Sgorbati was born in a small town near Piacenza in 1940. She entered the Consolata Missionaries in 1963 and made her perpetual profession of vows in 1970. She was killed on September 17, 2006 in Mogadishu and was beatified on Saturday, May 26, in the cathedral of Piacenza during a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
Sister Renata Conti, postulator of the beatification cause of Lionella told SIR Information Service “During her thirty years in Kenya, Lionella founded several schools to give a future to the young. She tried to do the same in Somalia, in a much more complicated environment. She was sensitive to everyone’s needs, owing to her physique we used to say that she had an ‘extra-large’ heart. Her students were fascinated by her dedication to them, they adored her, they loved her like a mother. Owing to her service in Mogadishu, where they feared she would proselytize, her life was at risk.”
'Be close to those who are suffering'
After having invoked the prayers of Our Lady of Africa upon all of us, the Pope also mentioned the fact that today in Italy, hospitals and health care centers and institutions across the nation mark the so called “Giornata del Sollievo” – a day to raise awareness and nurture solidarity for all those who suffer pain and are nearing the end of their lives.
“I urge all to be aware of the physical and spiritual needs of those who are sick and to be close to them with tenderness” he said.