Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday praised an Italian nun for pardoning her killers as she lay dying from an attack in Somalia that may have been linked to worldwide Muslim anger over his recent remarks about Islam and violence.
Rosa Sgorbati, an Italian missionary who worked in a pediatrics hospital in Somalia under her religious name Sister Leonella, was slain in Mogadishu Sept. 17, the day that Benedict said he was deeply sorry his remarks had offended Muslims.
The pontiff has also stressed that the words he spoke, a citation from a Byzantine emperor in medieval times, did not reflect his own opinion.
Speaking Sunday about the need to overcome selfishness, Benedict cited the slaying of the nun in Somalia, where she had worked as a nurse.
"Some are asked to give the supreme testimony of blood, as it happened a few days ago to the Italian nun, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who fell victim to violence," the pontiff said.
"This nun, who for many years served the poor and the children in Somalia, died pronouncing the word 'pardon,'" the pope told pilgrims during his traditional Sunday noon appearance. "This is the most authentic Christian testimony, a peaceful sign of contradiction which shows the victory of love over hate and evil."