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Pope Mourns Sister Slain in Haiti

Sister Isabel Sola Mata Sister Isabel Sola Mata

Pope Francis took a moment away from the joyful celebration of the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta this weekend to pray for a 51 year-old missionary who was gunned down on September 2 on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting on the murder of Isabel Sola Mata, a member of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, who was shot twice in the chest as she sat in traffic in the country’s capital.

Jean Brunet Noel, a justice ministry official at the scene, said Sr. Isabel was sitting in her SUV, inching down a crowded street in a poor section of the city, when she was shot at point blank range and her purse stolen. A passenger who was riding with her in the car was also shot twice and is being treated at a local hospital.

Father Hans Alexandre of Sacred Heart Catholic Church described Sr. Isabel as a “tireless servant of God” who helped build houses, worked as a nurse, fed the hungry and created a workshop where prosthetic limbs were made for amputees who were injured in the 2010 earthquake. She also built a vocational school on the church grounds where Haitians could learn valuable skills.

"The loss is immense. In killing her they didn't kill just one person, they killed the hopes of many people," Alexandre told the AP.

Sr. Isabel, who was originally from Barcelona, Spain, lived in Haiti for years, devoting her life to serving the less privileged in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

“The only thing that mattered to her was serving others,” said Javier Sola Mata, her brother. “Being useful to others, that’s what she believed was important. How to serve others who really couldn’t help themselves.”

She was a member of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, which is described on the website as a congregation “of Pontifical Right and Ignatian Spirituality” which was founded by Saint Claudine Thevenet in Lyon, France in 1818.

“We want to be witnesses of Pardon and Mercy or all, but especially for children, – boys and girls – young people, the poor and the abandoned, seeing in them the hope that makes us recognize in every person the promise and manifestation of the goodness of God,” the site explains.

They fulfill this mission by serving the Church and the world through formal and informal education, the missions, and pastoral ministries such as catechesis, prisons and health care. Another primary mission is to promote human rights, especially that of girls and women.

According to Crux, Sr. Isabel entered when she was 19 and served for 15 years in Equatorial Guinea where she ran a school for underprivileged students. She moved to Haiti in 2008.

Pope Francis remembered Sr. Isabel during his Angelus address after the canonization Mass for St. Teresa of Calcutta.

“I would like to remember those who spend their time in the service of our brothers and sisters in difficult or risky environments. Let us pray especially for the Spanish missionary sister, Sister Isabel, who was killed two days ago in the capital of Haiti,” Francis said.

Many are answering his call to pray for the repose of this generous soul, including the disheveled man who was found by an AP reporter standing beside the metal gate outside Sr. Isabel’s home on the day of her murder, forlornly staring at the ground.

"She was the person who took care of people like me, helping with food and other things," he said. "I am very sad today."

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