Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Our founder, Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, encouraged us to be at the service of the mission at the cost of life, and the recognition of Sister Leonella's martyrdom is a new impulse for us to live mission all the way": says to Fides Sister Renata Conti, Missionary of the Consolata, Postulator of the cause of beatification of her sister, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, with regards to the news of the recognition of the martyrdom on behalf of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with the approval of the Holy Father.
Sister Leonella, an Italian missionary, died in Mogadishu (Somalia), on September 17, 2006, gunned down while she was going to the hospital where she served. Even Mohamed Mahamud, the guard who had tried to rescue her died, too.
"Our community has followed the whole procedure of the cause step by step with trepidation and anxiety - recalls Sister Renata - and today we feel immense joy. It was the general chapter of our institute in 2011 that decided to proceed with the cause of beatification of Sister Leonella, so she would become an example of how to live the mission in today's context".
The community of the Consolata Missionaries in Somalia, which Sister Leonella belonged to, is currently pending, says Sister Renata, but it has not been closed, as the hope is that they will soon return and resume service and one hopes that the beatification can contribute to this. "We have news that the Somali people have not forgotten Sister Leonella, that people have her in their heart as well as in Kenya, where she spent thirty years of mission", says Sister Renata.
At the beginning of December, Sr. Leonella's body translation will take place from the cemetery of Nazareth Hospital, just outside Nairobi, where she currently is, to Flora Hostel church.
Sister Leonella Sgorbati, was born on December 9, 1940 in Rezzanello di Gazzola, province of Piacenza (Italy), she entered the Consolata Missionaries in May 1963 and issued her perpetual vows in November 1972. After attending nursing school in England, she was sent to Kenya in 1970. From 1970 to 1983 she served in the hospitals of the Consolata of Mathari, Nyeri and Nazareth, on the outskirts of Nairobi. In 1985 she became the principal teacher at the Nursing School in Meru Hospital in Nkubu. On November 26, 1993, she was appointed regional superior of the Consolata Missionaries of Kenya, a task she had carried out for six years. In 2001, Sister Leonella spent several months in Mogadishu to verify the possibility of creating a nursing school in a local hospital run by an NGO. On April 18, 2002, the first professional school courses began, the first students graduated in 2006. Sister Leonella managed to obtain a diploma for her students which was internationally recognized by the World Health Organization. On September 17, 2006 she was killed (see Fides 18/9/2006; 20/9/2006; 25/9/2006; 27/9/2006). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/11/2017)