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The Pope's sadness
for the nuns killed in Burundi

· Three Xaverian Missionaries from Italy work in Bujumbura ·

On learning of the tragic news of the murder of three Xaverian Missionaries, Pope Francis expressed his condolences in two telegrams — signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State — respectively, addressed to Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura and to Sr Giordana Bertacchini, Superior General of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, joining in prayer for the suffering of their families. The following are the English translations of the messages which were written in French.

His Holiness Pope Francis has learned with great sadness of the murder of three nuns, Sr Bernadetta Bogianni, Sr Lucia Pulici and Sr Olga Raschietti, who were in the pastoral service of the parish of St Guido Maria Conforti in Gujumbura. The Holy Father begs the Lord to welcome into his kingdom of peace and light these three faithful and devout nuns. In these tragic circumstances, he expresses his closeness to their religious community, to the families of the victims, and the entire diocesan community. He imparts the comfort of a heartfelt and affectionate apostolic blessing to all those affected by their sudden loss. I join the Holy Father in offering my condolences and wish to assure those close to the departed sisters of my fervent prayers.

The following is the telegram sent to the Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of Mary.

Deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters killed in Burundi, the Holy Father wishes to assure his heartfelt participation in the profound suffering of the congregation for the loss of such dedicated sisters and, in the hope that the blood they have shed may become the seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples, he raises fervent prayers for the eternal repose of their souls and for their generous witness of the Gospel. To their families, the entire institute and those who mourn their loss, he imparts the comfort of his apostolic blessing.

Cardinal Parolin personally expressed his condolences on Monday morning, 8 September, during his homily the Mass he celebrated in the Basilica of Monter Berico in Vicenza on the occasion of the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the diocese.

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