Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta – A Maria Goretti for Africa

Most of you probably are familiar with the 20th century Italian saint, Maria Goretti. She was murdered early in the century at a very young age when she refused sexual advances of a man. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II, and her murderer, whom she forgave, was converted.

I found out today that there is, one might say, a Maria Goretti for Africa. Her name is Blessed Clementina Anuarite Nengapeta from the former Belgian Congo.

She was born in 1939 in Wamba. Her parents were pagans and she was baptized with her mother and sisters, educated by the Sisters of the Child Jesus and entered the local religious congregation, the Holy Family Sisters, making her profession in 1959. The country gained its independence in 1961 and was plunged into civil war. In 1964, Sr. Anuarite was taken hostage by guerrillas and the leader of that group repeatedly tried to sexually coerce her. She steadfastly refused, and in December of that year she was brutally maltreated and was killed. Before her death, she forgave her murderer with these words: “May God forgive you and I forgive you because you do not realize what you are doing.”

Pope John Paul II beatified her on August 15, 1985 during his second visit to that country (called Zaire at the time). Her feast day is December 1, the date of her death.

Blessed Anuarite, pray for us!

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Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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