Eighteen missionaries lost their lives violently across the world this year: twelve priests, one brother, three women religious , one seminarian, and one lay person. Nine missionaries were killed in Africa, eight missionaries in the Americas, and one in Asia.
The data were gathered by Fides Agency which released its annual report. The Vatican news agency explains that it uses the term ”missionary” in a broad sense of “all the baptized engaged in the life of the Church who died in a violent way, not only ‘in hatred of the faith’”.
The highest number of murders has been recorded in the African continent, with four priests killed in kidnapping-prone Nigeria; three missionaries murdered in conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including two priests and a nun; one priest in Tanzania, and another nun in Mozambique, which in recent years has seen an escalation of violence perpetrated by armed groups in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Mexico again this year endured the bulk of missionary murders in the Americas, with three priests and a seminarian killed against the backdrop of growing drug-related insecurity in the Latin American country.
Missionaries also lost their lives in Honduras (2), Bolivia (1) and in Haiti, where on June 25, Italian nun Luisa Dell’Orto was killed, in Port-au-Prince, allegedly in an attempted robbery. The 64-year-old nun, who belonged to the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Gospel of Charles de Foucauld, had been serving in Haiti for twenty years working for street children.
In Asia, a Vietnamese Dominican priest, was stabbed to death while listening to confessions in the diocese of Kon Tum, by a mentally ill man.
No missionary killings have been reported this year in Oceania and Europe, which in 2021 counted one victim: Fr. Olivier Maire, SMM, the provincial superior of the Montfort Missionaries in France killed by a Rwandan-born immigrant with mental issues whom he had been assisting.
Read more via Vatican News