The Exaltation of the Holy Cross: Sunday September 14th: This past Monday, news agencies reported the parish priest and officials in the African state of Burundi confirmed that three Italian nuns were found violently murdered over the weekend in the north of Burundi's capital. Sister Bernadetta Bogiann (79), Sister Lucia Pulici (75) and Sister Olga Raschietti (82), Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, were in the pastoral service of the parish of Saint Guido Maria Conforti in Bujumbura. The three nuns had been serving in Burundi for seven years, after working several years in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, another central African state. Sr. Olga had spent the last 50 years of her life in Africa. She and Sr. Lucia had helped look after sick people, their order said, while Sr. Bernadetta worked in a sewing school they had set up for girls.
Our feast today, the Exaltation of the Lord’s Cross and the story of these sisters are intimately connected. Without hearing the story of their lives, vocations, and deaths, we never would have heard of their love and their witness to Jesus and His Cross. The Gospel bears witness of the ultimate love the Father has for us, He gives us His Son. Jesus is both the witness to and the revelation of God’s loving self-emptying love. Because Jesus dies on our behalf, evil will never have the last word: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might have life through Him.” In John’s Gospel we hear described Jesus as Christ, as both fully human and fully divine. God takes on our flesh and then offers Himself on our behalf. For these three sisters, the very nature of the life they were called to live was a religious vocation to serve and feed the poor in Christ. They believed and offered themselves in His Name. They knew, understood, believed and lived as witnesses to the fact that through Him and His Cross we have salvation. to read full message . . .
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