A member of the Missionaries of Charity honors the four sisters who were murdered in Yemen March 4 during a memorial Mass in New York City April 1. CNS photo/Ed Wilkinson

Kenyan nun killed in Yemen remembered during memorial Mass

By  Francis Njuguna, Catholic News Service
  • April 18, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya – A Kenyan member of the Missionaries of Charity killed in an attack on a nursing home in Yemen was remembered during a memorial Mass as defending her Catholic faith at the time of her death.

Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of Nairobi said in his homily April 16 at the Holy Family Minor Basilica that Sr. Mary Judith, who was born Anastasia Kanini and was one of four women religious killed when gunmen stormed the nursing home, did not die in vain.

Directing his attention to the 62-year-old mother of the slain nun, Agnes Kasangi Kimutu, Kamau said, "Mother, do not worry about your daughter. She has gone to Heaven and she could probably be interceding for us at this moment."

The four Missionaries of Charity and 12 other people were killed by uniformed gunmen, who entered the home the sisters operate for the elderly and disabled in Aden.

The superior of the Missionaries of Charity at the home survived by hiding, according to the Vatican's Fides news agency. Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian Salesian priest who had been living at the home since Holy Family parish in Aden was sacked and burned in September, was missing after the attack.

The dead included two sisters from Rwanda, Sr. Mary Marguerite and Sr. Mary Reginette, and Sr. Mary Anselm of India.

The hundreds of people in attendance also prayed for Uzhunnalil.

"May the good Lord spare the life of Fr. Tom, who all along has been instrumental in the pastoral mission of the slain sisters at Aden, Yemen. May the captors do no harm to him and may the good Lord shower him with freedom from the captors," prayed a nun during the prayers of the faithful.

Prayers also were offered for another Kenyan Catholic nun, Sr. Mary Carmeline, a Missionary of Charity who was born as Bernadette Nzembi and hailed from the Makueni, the same hometown as Sr. Mary Judith. Sr. Mary Carmeline was killed in Sierra Leone in 1999 during the country's 11-year civil war as she prepared food for hundreds of people displaced by the violence.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.