Nun dies after being shot in South Sudan

Veronika RackováRadio Vatican

A Slovak nun and medical doctor has died from her injuries after being shot in Yei, South Sudan.

Sister Veronika Terézia Racková, aged 58, was shot and wounded by three soldiers earlier this month. She died four days later on May 20, according Martin Kramara, spokesman of the Slovak Bishops' Conference, and Radio Vatican.

She was a much loved member of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, and was head of the Saint Bakhita Medical Centre in Yei.

Gunmen opened fire on her when she was driving a patient to hospital. She was shot in the stomach and pelvis, and was flown to Nairobi in Kenya for surgery.

Sister Veronika obtained her medical degree from Charles University in Prague and took her vows in the religious order in 1989. She worked all over the world including in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Ireland, England, Indonesia, Ghana and finally South Sudan. 

"Precious indeed is the life given for mission," said a tribute on the order's Facebook page. "Thank you so much for all your precious prayers and support extended. Though we are in deep pain and sorrow for the death of Sister Veronika, we offer peace, healing and compassion to the people in South Sudan, for whom she gave her life, especially those who wounded her. May the love of the Triune God be sown in every heart."

Father Zachariah Angutuwa Sebit, vicar general of Yei, told a weeping congregation at a Mass in Sister Veronika's memory that she had known she was dying.

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting, which took place on the eve of celebrations marking 30 years of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Sister Maria Jerly, the order's provincial superior, said the death was a tragedy. But she added: "It is our hope to continue to serve the needy people of this great nation of Africa, despite this unfortunate incident."