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Pope Francis speaks at the weekly General Audience Pope Francis speaks at the weekly General Audience  (Vatican Media)

Pope recalls missionary sister killed in Central African Republic

Pope Francis calls to mind a murdered missionary sister, whose body was found in the Central African Republic on the same day a missionary priest was killed in Mozambique.

By Devin Watkins

In his greetings to French-speaking pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis called the Spanish missionary “a woman who has given her life for Jesus in the service of the poor.”

Murdered missionary sister

Sister Inés Nieves Sancho, aged 77, was found murdered near her home in the Central African Republic on Monday morning.

Her body was found horribly mutilated at her workshop in the village of Nola, which is part of the Diocese of Berberati, according to the Osservatore Romano.

At some point during the night between Sunday and Monday, unknown assailants entered Sister Inés’ home and forcibly took her to the workshop where she regularly held sewing lessons for local girls to help improve their lives. There her attackers decapitated her and mutilated her body.

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Link to organ trafficking

Though the assailants’ motives remain unknown, the Osservatore Romano reports that investigators are pursuing links to trafficking in organs. The Vatican newspaper relates the practice to neighboring Cameroon, where organ trafficking is rife.

Sister Inés belonged to the small, local community of the Daughters of Jesus. As Pope Francis pointed out, she spent several decades in Nola teaching young women how to sew, dedicating her life to this mission at all costs. Sister Inés recently told another nun: “I’m not alone. The young women are with me!”

She was buried on Tuesday morning.

Congolese priest killed in Mozambique

Separately, a missionary priest from Congo was also killed on Sunday in Mozambique’s coastal city of Beira.

Fr. Landry Ibil Ikwel, aged 34, was stabbed in his community’s house and brought to hospital, where he died from his wounds, according to the Fides news agency. An investigation is underway.

Fr. Landry was ordained a priest in 2016, and belonged to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

He was the Director of an institute for the blind in Beira (IDV-B), which offers help with education, rehabilitation, and social integration for the visually-impaired.

In a statement sent to Fides, the Congregation lamented his death and prayed that “wherever death seeks to reign, life may prevail.”

22 May 2019, 12:59