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BLESSED ANWARITE NENGAPETA: SHE STILL HAD THE STRENGTH TO SAY, “I FORGIVE YOU”

Blessed Anwarite Nengapeta, Virgin; Memorial: December 1

Anwarite Nengapeta was born in Wamba (Dem. Congo) in 1939. She joined the local Holy Family Sisters and took her vows in 1959, taking the name of Sr Marie Clementine.

In 1964 all the nuns of the Bafwabaka community were deported by the Simba rebels.

At night they were taken to a military house, where Colonel Olombe tried to force Sr Anwarite and Sr Bokuma to have sexual intercourse with him. Both refused categorically in spite of the violence to which they were subjected.

Sr Bokuma fainted, her arm broken in three places. Sr Anwarite continued to resist, saying she would rather die than commit a sin. Between the blows she had the strength to say: “I forgive you, for you do not know what you are doing.” In his anger the colonel had her stabbed many times with a bayonet and finally took out his revolver and shot her. She died a few minutes later. She was beatified by St John Paul II in 1985.

From: The Sisters of St Peter Claver, Bromley, Kent (Mission Calendar)

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SERENITY AMIDST GREAT UPHEAVAL AND VIOLENCE: ST MARIA DE JESUS SACRAMENTADO

“One of the saints remembered by the Church [on] 30th July, is St Maria de Jesus Sacramentado. She was born in 1868 at Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, Mexico.

She was the youngest of twelve children and her Mother died when St Maria was quite young. The family suffered financial hardship but they were bolstered by the father’s strong Catholic faith. The father died when St Maria was 19 years old and later she moved to Guadalajara, where she worked in a charity hospital called the Sacred Heart Hospital, staffed by a lay group called the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St Maria joined these Daughters and served as a nurse, then as a pharmacist. At the age of 31 St Maria felt called to take religious vows, and under her leadership the Daughters became a Religious Order. St Maria was elected Superior.

The Church was driven underground 

St Maria carried on this vital work in spite of revolution and guerrilla warfare. In 1925 the Mexican Government confiscated the property of the Church, including their hospitals, and drove the Church underground. Violence spread and the streets of Guadalajara were filled with blood. Catholic priests who refused to abandon their parishioners were arrested and executed by firing squad. Others were stabbed to death or hanged. Churches were reopened in 1929, but violent conflicts continued sporadically for many years.

When difficulties and problems come from all sides…

Throughout these years of difficulties, St Maria kept the Sacred Heart Hospital open, enabling its care and services to help those who were sick and wounded. St Maria died peacefully on 30 July 1959. Pope Saint John Paul II, in 2000, canonised her a saint along with 25 Mexican priests who were martyred in the revolution.

St Maria’s great Catholic faith enabled her to live in serenity amidst great upheaval and violence, and enabled her to keep loyal to her calling from God without deviation. She is an example for us to imitate when difficulties and problems come at us from many sides. Through our Catholic faith and trust in God we can still remain serene when all around is disturbed.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris, 2015

 

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