Two Rwandan nuns who were tragically murdered in Yemen are set to be made cannonised as saints, according to an announcement by Pope Francis.
Canonisation is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint, specifically, the official act of a Christian communion declaring a person worthy of public veneration and entering their name in the canon catalogue of saints, or authorised list of that communion’s recognised saints.
The decision to make saints the two Rwandan nuns comes as part of the preparations for the Jubilee of 2025, with the Pope establishing a working group at the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints to compile a catalogue of Christians who have sacrificed their lives for their faith in the past 25 years.
Among those to be recognized are Reginette Nzamukunda and Marguerite Mukashema, who lost their lives on March 4, 2016, during an armed attack on a Catholic retirement home in Aden, Yemen.
The assailants targeted the facility run by Mother Teresa nuns, resulting in the deaths of 16 people, including four Catholic nuns.
The other two victims were identified as Anastasia Kanini, a Kenyan nun, and Anslem, hailing from Ranchi, India.
In an interview with The New Times, Bishop Vincent Harolimana, the Bishop of Ruhengeri, expressed the Catholic community’s joy in seeing the recognition of the two Rwandan nuns as saints.
He highlighted their strong faith and dedication, noting that despite the unsafe conditions in Yemen, they chose to stay and care for the elderly, ultimately sacrificing their own lives.
The process of canonization for these martyred saints will differ from the usual lengthy procedures. The set-up commission will gather information about their work, contributions, and the testimonies of those familiar with their lives and unwavering faith.
Bishop Harolimana emphasized that their recognition as martyrs and saints serves as an inspiration for true charity.
The commission will acknowledge individuals from diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated selflessness in assisting the poor, caring for marginalized individuals, promoting peace, and embracing the power of forgiveness.
“It is a significant milestone for Rwanda, coinciding with the country’s celebration of 125 years since the introduction of the gospel. The canonization of the four nuns holds great importance for the Catholic congregation, as they serve as shining examples of unwavering faith in a world where such dedication is increasingly rare,” Harolimana said.