Pope Francis expresses his condolences to the family and to the religious community of Sister Luisa Dell’Orto, who was killed in Haiti on Saturday
By Vatican News staff reporters
Sister Luisa Dell’Orto “made her life a gift to others, even to the point of martyrdom,” Pope Francis said on Sunday at the Angelus, as he offered his condolences to the family and religious community of the Italian nun who was killed Sunday in Haiti.
Just last year, in a letter to a missionary group, Sister Luisa had written of her decision to continue her work in Haiti. “You will tell me I am a bit crazy. Why stay here? Why expose yourself to ‘risk’? What is the point of living in such discomfort? Wouldn’t it be better for people to solve their own problems?
“We cannot keep silent about what we have seen and heard.”
“To be able to count on someone is important in order to live! And witnessing that you can count on the solidarity that comes from faith and love of God is the greatest gift we can offer.”
On Saturday, Sr Luisa was seriously injured during an armed attack in the streets of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. She was rushed to hospital, but died shortly afterwards, just two days shy of her 65th birthday.
Sister Luisa was a member of the Little Sisters of the Gospel, a religious community inspired by St Charles de Foucauld, and had lived in Port-au-Prince for more than two decades, “dedicated above all to the service of street children,” as Pope Francis recalled on Sunday.
“Here, yes, she really gave her life for the work, that is certainly a fact,” said Maria Adele Dell’Orto, Sister Luisa’s biological sister, in remarks to Vatican News. “She was aware that something might happen… because it’s obvious, even in her last letter she said so, that the situation was very difficult. But she was keen to stay and bear witness.”
Maria Adele was comforted by the fact that her sister had followed path taken by St Charles. “In these hours, I think of how she always lived in the footesteps of Charles de Foucauld, and today I think that she died like him.”
In his own remarks at the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis commended Sr Luisa’s soul to God, and prayed for the people of Haiti, “especially for the little ones, that they may have a more serene future, without misery and violence.”