MASS AT THE CATHEDRAL OF BUKAVU
Your Excellency Monsignor Francis Xavier Maroy, Archbishop of Bukavu,
Dear priests and religious consecrated to the Lord,
Dear parents and family of Sr. Denise,
Dear brothers and sisters who have come to support us and to accompany our Sister,
On behalf of the entire community of the monastery of Our Lady of Clarté-Dieu, I express my profound gratitude for the sympathy you have shown on this mysterious day of the Pasch of our sister.
The death of Sr. Denise KAHAMBU falls in the same category as that of Fr. Daniel whom we just buried, and of all the other victims of human wickedness in our region, known or unknown.
Our Sister was called Denise KAHAMBU MUHAYIRWA.
She was born
She entered the monastery on
She made her temporary profession on
She died on
She excercised successively the following jobs in our community:
The service of assistance in the guest house, gardiner, portress responsible for the reception of the destitute), sub-mistress, responsibility for the farm, chantress, and the job of welcoming people as portress. It was in this last service that she died. It was also she who woke us up in the morning.
She exercised her responsibilities with energy and courage, and we saw in her a great gift of discretion. Recently she was quite busy cooking quantities of food for the poor, living each day as if she knew it was her last.
It is a ripe fruit that she harvested.
The month of December was very dear to Sr. Denise and she said that she would die in December.
She died around , after celebrating with the community the First Vespers of the Immaculate Conception, and after singing the Salve Regina at the evening service, Compline.
It was after this chanting of the Salve that she headed to her work of clearing the tables where she had served our guests who had arrived from Goma to participate in the Clothing of their daughters, two postulants who were to begin their novitiate on 8 December.
It was around , on leaving Compline, that we became aware of the presence of undesirable guests in the courtyard. Those who shot her did not speak to her, they did not ask any questions nor demand money. They pursued her as she ran, crying out, trying to escape them, and they fired a shot that went through her thigh. She fell to the ground. They also fired at the visitors, but did not hit them. The noise alerted the whole community: each one fled as she could, and we all found ourselves in the dormitory. The assailants immediately came to the doors of the dormitory, but we did not open them, and we had no way to get out to help our sister who continued to bleed. After a few minutes she died.
The death of Sr. Denise first of all allowed our visitors to save their lives.
Second, it was thanks to her cries and to the noise of the shots that the rest of the community reached safety. Otherwise, more would have died. So it is with sorrow but also with this awareness that we celebrate this event. In this, we thank our sister who gave her life for all the community, and I invite the Trappist sisters to rise and chant the Te Deum. It would be good for the choir to accompany us as well. And afterward I will continue.
Finally, this death is in solidarity with many other persons, known and unknown, innocent victims of the massacres in our midst.
We thank again each and every one for the eloquent witness of your concern and your love for our sister and our community.
Let us pray to the Lord that the blood that has been shed may enrich the Church and help it to bear good fruit.
May Our Lady of Peace and Our Lady of la Clarté-Dieu, Virgin most pure, guard us with her protection.
Bukavu, 9 December 2009
Sr Jeanne Lubingo, superior