The Night is a Child
(Usiku Ni Mtoto)
A story of Africa By Dr. Pelham Mead ED.D. 2
Chapter 1-The Massacre
“(RNS) Three elderly Italian nuns murdered in Burundi were laid to rest Thursday (Sept. 11, 2014) in a Xaverian cemetery in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid heightened calls for action about their death.
Sister Lucia Pulici, 75, Sister Olga Raschietti, 82, and Sister Bernadetta Boggian, 79, of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary were gruesomely murdered Sunday in their convent in the Kamenge area of Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.
The triple murders shocked Christians across the globe and ignited calls for the protection of sisters worldwide. The nuns were reportedly beaten and killed with a knife. At least one nun was decapitated. There were conflicting reports about whether they had been raped.
While mourning their deaths, Sister Enelesi Chimbali, general secretary of the Nairobi-based Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa, said such women left their comfortable homes, convents and native countries to serve the poor and downtrodden.
The nuns were buried in Bukavu town in the DRC, where the order has a cemetery. The order’s district covers both Burundi and parts of neighboring DNC. The sisters had wanted to be buried in Africa according to the Xaverian order’s former regional superior, Sister Delia Guadagnini, to mark their love for the continent to the end.” (Associated Press) 3
Chapter 2-September 15, 2014, Parma, Italy
“Seniore Boggian, come quick. Have you read the Newspaper today? Guiseppe shouted. “No, Guiseppe, I have not had a chance to do so. What is upsetting you?” asked Sisto Boggian. “Oh, a terrible thing Seniore. Your older sister Bernadetta Boggian, the Nun, was killed in Burundi, Africa,” Guiseppe responded. “What? Let me see that paper. Oh my God, Jesus, how could this happen? Sisto exclaimed. “No one has contacted me from the Vatican or from the Italian consulate in Burundi,” Sisto said. “Guiseppe call the Italian Consulate, and see if they have any information regarding this story in the newspaper La Repubblica,” Sisto asked. “Yes, seniore I will call them right away, Guiseppe replied. “This is so tragic for my sister who had devoted her whole life to serving in Africa as a Nun for the Xaverian sisters of Mary. She was my only sister,” Sisto exclaimed. “I will have to talk with Father Ramone, and arrange to have a requiem mass in her honor. Perhaps Cardinal Giovanni of the Holy See, my old friend can help me look into my sister’s murder?” Sisto said.
“Hello, Ciao Cardinal Giovanni, this is your friend Sisto Boggian. How are you doing today? I called to discuss a most disturbing report I just got in the newspaper today. Were you aware that my older sister Bernadette Boggian who was a Nun in Burundi, Africa was brutally murdered on September 11 in her convent, along with two other nuns?” “Ciao Sisto, it is good to hear from you in so many years, and I am sorry for your loss,” Cardinal Giovanni replied. “Yes, I recently read about this tragedy in Burgundi, Africa in the Republicca News, Cardinal Giovanni replied. “My condolences Sisto. How may I help you?” Cardinal Giovanni asked. “Cardinal is there 4
anything you can do to find out who this killer or killers of my Sister and the other two Nuns were?” Sisto asked. “We do not have any authority in Burundi, other than as the Roman Catholic Church. I am sorry Sisto,” Cardinal Giovanni responded. “Is there anyway outside of the church or the Holy See that you can have this investigated Cardinal?” Sisto asked. “I will speak to the Pope, and we will see what influence or favors are do elsewhere in the world that would help us in this matter, Cardinal Giovanni said. “I will get back to you as soon as I hear something, Sisto. God be with you this day,” Cardinal Giovanni finished his talk. “Ciao.”
(Langley, Virginia, USA, CIA Headquarters)
E-mail message: To Bill Beatrand, Intelligence division Re: Nuns killed in Burundi, Africa Bill do we have any Intel that the Hutus and or Tutsis are planning any actions in Burundi? This seems like a savage and senseless killing the kinds the Hutus or Tutsis are capable of.
Hello Bill, this is William Brandt; did you get my e-mail today?
Yes, I did William, and thank you for making me aware of the sad incident in Burundi. I have checked around, and we have no Intel on any Hutus or Tutsis plans or terrorism. Well, if you hear of anything let me know. I just want to stay on top of any plans to return to the civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis. Will do William, I will keep you informed if anything comes across my desk. Send me a copy of the news article about the Nuns, and I will follow up on the story. Thanks Bill, take care. 5
(Riverdale, Bronx, New York, Sisters of Charity Headquarters)
I just returned to New York City after taking a leave of absence from my vows as a Nun in the Sisters of Charity Order in Riverdale, New York. I was in Africa in the Congo, Kenya, and Burundi working with school children for 18 years. I developed health problems this past year, and when I attended a hospital in Bujumbura the capital of Burundi, the doctors determined that I had breast cancer and needed treatment immediately. I asked for a leave of absence from the Sisters of Charity Headquarters in Riverdale, New York, and was granted a year’s leave of absence to seek medical treatment in New York. I had joined the Sisters of Charity when I turned 18 after graduating from Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, New York. My parents were opposed to me becoming a Nun, yet they had no money for me to attend College either. All my life as a young girl I admired the Nuns and the work they did to help people. They were always giving of themselves and offering peace and support to anyone who needed it. Many of my teachers were Nuns at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens. We have live in Queens for several years and because of my fathers low pay at the time and my mother not working we all received scholarships to Archbishop Molloy High School.
Upon graduation I was accepted at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York. It was there that I met and became friends with Sister Ilene McCarthy. She became my mentor for the four years at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. I graduated from the College in 1992 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. Immediately, upon graduation I entered the Order of the Sisters of Charity in which Sister Ilene McCarthy was a member. 6
I took the name of Sister Angelina when I was accepted as a novice. My real name was Angela Vespucci, and I was born in 1970 in Rhode Island. My parents moved to New York City, when my father who was an advertising executive, was transferred. We lived in Brooklyn, and Queens, for ten years or so. My brothers and sisters, Bill and John, Sally, Jean, and myself all attended Archbishop Molloy High School while living in Queens. I took four years of French in high school, and that language would serve me well later on in life. I had always dreamt of living in Africa as a Nun teaching children. When I enrolled at the Sisters of Charity Headquarters in Riverdale they sent me to Pennsylvania for my first year as a Novice. When I was accepted into the Order of the Sisters of Charity I volunteered to join with some Catholic missionaries in The Congo in Africa to teach young children. In six months I was on a plane with the Catholic missionaries headed to the Congo as a Nun to begin my career in teaching African children in various missionary sites in the Congo and later on in Kenya and Burundi. I soon learned how to speak Swahili and many natives in Burundi spoke French as well as Swahili. My first assignment was in the Congo in a small missionary site next to a convent of the Sisters of Mary from Poland and Italy, and the Sisters of Charity from the USA.
I went to the New York University Medical center downtown to get a diagnosis regarding my breast cancer. Dr. Joel Wellmud was the Oncologist that I saw and after taking x-rays and a cat scan he recommended chemotherapy at first to see if that would kill the cancer. So I began a rigorous chemotherapy treatment of my breast cancer over the next six months. Fortunately, when the Sisters of Charity learned that I was suffering from breast cancer and had no family home to go to in New York, they allowed me to use an apartment they had on the campus of the 7
Sisters of Charity and the College of Mount Saint Vincent for free. This made it possible for me to survive without having to work to survive. After six months the chemotherapy I was making some improvements. I returned to Dr. Joel Wellmud at the NYU Medical center, and he said all of the cancer in my right breast was gone and the prognosis looked good. I still needed to watch my diet and keep rested. I began attending services with the Sisters of Charity that were retired and living on the grounds.
A year after my cancer scare I began to realize that my priorities were changing and I had never held a real job and had no money to survive in New York City. I asked for an extension of my leave of absence and was granted another year. I spoke to Sister Kathryn the Sisters of Charity Director about my need for change and a feeling that my mission had changed regarding my life as a Nun. She understood and encouraged me to seek God’s understanding and go and teach in New York City public or Catholic schools. So, I went to a local New York State employment center in the Bronx to see if I could find a teaching job. Several problems presented themselves. I did not have a New York State teacher’s license and I had never taken the New York State Teachers Competency test. This process could take months or a year I was told. I was beginning to feel depressed when I saw a flyer on the wall saying Government Jobs were available in the CIA and other Government agencies in Washington, D.C. I filled out an application and then proceeded to forget about the whole thing until my phone rang one day and it was a woman asking me if I was interested in traveling to Washington, D.C. for an interview for CIA as a civilian support staff person. She offered to pay for my train trip down to Washington, D. C. and back and my food and hotel expenses. I said,”yes,” enthusiastically and an appointment was set 8
up for two weeks later. After I committed to the interview, I realized I knew nothing about the CIA but what I saw in the movies with spies shooting one another.
Two weeks later, I was on the Amtrak train to Washington, D.C. for my interview at Langley, Virginia. I was to be met at the train station by a black limo and a driver who would drive me to Langley, Virginia the CIA headquarters. I was very excited about getting a real job for the first time in my life other than being a Nun. The train trip was a quick three hours and I slept most of the way. When I got to the Union train station in Washington I was met outside the front of the building by a chauffer with my name on a sign Sister Angelina Vespucci. “Hi I am Sister Angelina,” I said. “Welcome to Washington, D. C. Sister, name is Joel Forbes and I will be driving you to CIA headquarters just over the river at Langley in Virginia,” he said. “Great,” I replied as he put my luggage in the trunk of the black executive car. The ride to Langley CIA headquarters was just under an hour. When we got there, Mr. Forbes instructed me that Supervisor Ms. Walsh would be interviewing me for the clerical job. “I will wait her for you until all your interviews are finished and then I will drive you back to Washington, D.C. to your hotel,” he said. “Sounds great to me,” I replied.
As I entered the office, Ms. Walsh, who was a woman in her forties greeted me, with slightly grey hair, and horn-rimmed glasses, and a business suit. I was dressed in a simple navy blue skirt and a white blouse. I did not have a lot of civilian clothes, so I had to make do with what I had. I don’t think I actually owned a business suit in my entire life. Ms. Walsh was the Executive assistant for a CIA Supervisor for a man names John Sauer. The interview began promptly at 9
3:00 on Thursday, and CIA Supervisor John Sauer interviewed me. Mr. Sauer was a CIA field supervisor, and a man in his fifties, bald, with a round face, and a small mustache. He obviously smoked because there were cigarette ashtrays everywhere in his office full of old cigarettes. His shirt and jacket reeked of cigarette smoke. Good afternoon Sister Angelina, or shall I just call you Angelina? Angelina is just fine. Ok, then Angelina, I read your application, and it says you served in the Congo, in Africa, and Burundi. You also speak French and Swahili. Your command of three languages is very impressive. Why did you choose to go to Africa Angelina? “Well as a little girl I always wanted to go to Africa and serve the poor there as a Nun,” I said. We are looking for clerical work in Washington, D.C. at present with bi-lingual capabilities in French, Swahili, and English. Would you consider moving to Washington, D.C. for a full-time position in Langley, Virginia at our headquarters? “Yes, I guess so if the pay scale is worth the move,” I responded. “Good,” Mr. Sauer responded. “I understand you are on leave from the Sisters of Charity in New York. Do you plan to leave the order,” he asked. “Yes, I have spoken to the Director of the Sisters of Charity about my doubts and need for a change in my vocation and my Nun’s vows,” I replied. “I will take that response to mean you are willing to leave the Sisters of Charity order if you get another job in the civilian world,” he said with a smile.
The interview went on for an hour with questions about what I did in Africa, and who my family was, and where they lived. Finally, at the end of the interview, Mr. Sauer told me that he would be getting back to me in a week or two and inform me whether my application had been approved. “Thank you Mr. Sauer and I look forward to hearing from you soon,” I said. 10
On the bus trip back to New York City, I dreamt of the days when I was in the Congo, and how polite the native women were to us Nuns. Surprisingly, many of the African natives are all Christians, and on Sundays the churches are packed with parishioners. I remember the colorful dresses the woman wore with beautiful patterns in the Congo. In Burundi things were very different. The capital Bujumbura was a spread out city that was ten miles across, and densely crowded with everything from concert cinderblock buildings to shacks. The monastery was a very old building from the early colonial days of the Germans settlers. I loved teaching the young African children, English and other life skills. My cancer brought all that to a halt after 22 years of service to African children in the Congo, Kenya, and Burundi.
True to his word, Mr. Sauer called two weeks later to inform me that I had been approved for the first level of interviews, and the CIA was sending me a plane ticket out of New York City to Washington, D.C. A special car was to pick me up at Washington International Airport, and drive me to Langley, Virginia. A few days after the phone call the plane tickets and FedEx delivered a check for $1,000 dollars to my room. I cashed the government check for $1,000 dollars to have money to travel with and to pay for a hotel to stay in Washington, D.C.
I left three days later for Washington, D. C. after taking the subway to Kennedy Airport on Long Island. The plane trip was uneventful, and I arrived at Washington Airport in the early afternoon. As soon as I reached the baggage claim area I noticed a gentlemen in a black suit and a chauffer hat with my name on his sign. “Sister Angelina,” he asked. “Yes, that is me,” I responded. Wait one minute, I have to retrieve my bag,” I said. “Sure Madam, take your time,” he responded. 11
After I got my bag he helped me carry the bag outside to a large executive car that was waiting for us. “It will be a little over an hour to get to Langley, Madam, he said.
“No problem,” I responded, “I am in no rush.” “My name is James Asher, Sister,” he said.
It was the fall season in Washington, D.C. and the leaves had all turned to reds and oranges, and were just as brilliant as New York in the fall. I fell asleep in the ride to Langley, and awoke as we were stopped at the security gate. “Mr. Asher for Mr. Sauer, “ the driver told the security guard at the gate. “You are cleared to go ahead Mr. Asher. Mr. Sauer is waiting for you in conference room B 102,” the security guard said, “We are here Sister Angelina.” Mr. Sauer is going to meet you in the conference room B 102. I will take you there, and bring your luggage. They are going to check you into a hotel after the interview and take your luggage at that time, “ Mr. Asher told me.
When we got to Conference room B 102, Mr. Sauer was already waiting with his secretary. “Good afternoon, Sister Angelina, “ Mr. Sauer commented. “How was your flight to Washington, D.C.,” he asked? “Fine, it was a very nice flight,” I responded. Your application has been approved for the first level and today you will meet with two interviewers who will make the final decision as to whether to hire you or not. Let me first introduce you to Mrs. Jill Mandel and Mr. Frank Giaggi both are CIA Directors of human services. We entered another office, and Mr. Sauer knocked on the door and then entered. Standing in the doorway of the office Mr. Sauer introduced me to Mrs. Jill Mandel, and Mr. Frank Giaggi who were seated at a long conference 12
table. “Good afternoon Sister Angelina,” Mr. Giaggi commented. “Hi,” Mrs. Jill Mandel commented. “I am happy to be her,“ I responded.
We have reviewed your application, and looked over Mr. Sauer’s interview comments, and agree you seem suitable for a civilian position here at the CIA headquarters. We have a unique opportunity that has just come to our attention Sister Angelina that requires the skills you have in speaking Swahili, French, and having knowledge of the culture in the Burundi,” Mrs. Mandel said. “What kind of position are you talking about,” I asked?
“We have need of field agents in Burundi at present, but you will have to undergo some training first if you want to take this assignment. The position pays very well; over $100,000 to start and all travel expenses and food and clothing are paid for. In addition you will receive full medical benefits and a retirement package,” Mr. Giaggi said. You will be classified as a field agent who will secretly be representing the CIA. We are also responding to a diplomat favor for the Vatican Holy See who is concerned with a problem in Burundi, but cannot overtly react to the situation since it is in a foreign country and the Catholic Church has no policing powers in a foreign country.
Do you think you might be interested in returning to Burundi to work with school children and in a Woman’s care center,” he asked. “I most enjoy teaching and working with the native woman,” I responded. You would not be alone in Burundi, the American Embassy would be available to you at all times, and we have support staff that can help you address any problems you come 13
across. Do you think that would interest your?” he asked. “Definitely, I responded.” I left the order because they kept transferring me from one country to another and not giving me time to adjust to the local conditions and because I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to teach but my cancer put all that on hold. The salary seems really good, and with full medical and retirement, I would be better off financially working for the CIA, than retiring as a Nun with no funds. “This is a timely assignment with a lot of political pressure, and cooperation between the Roman Catholic Holy See, the CIA and the USA federal government. There was a mass murdering of three nuns in Kamenge Convent in Burundi and the repercussions extend all the way to Italy and the USA. We need to teach you some basic skills that will take a month or so and then send you to Burundi. You will not be trained in the use of guns or weapons of any kind. Your job duties will be secretive and investigative. We hope that from the inside of the Kamenge Convent you will discover the real facts involving the murders and relay that information back to us. Does that sound interesting to you? “Very much so, “ I replied.
“Good, would you be willing to start training next week? We can have all your belongings shipped, and we will pay for your hotel until we find a more permanent housing for you near Langley while you undergo in-service training. You salary would be $100,000 plus full medical and a pension plan. Does that sound about right for you?” “While you are on assignment in Africa we will pay for all your expenses. You can save your salary at home for retirement. Will you accept this position, Sister Angelina as a CIA field agent? We will provide you with a cover as a Nun when in fact you will no longer be a Nun in the order you once served. We plan to have you pose as a Nun from an Italian order in Palma in the Sisters of Mary. We will create all the 14
necessary paperwork to back up you story, and will clear with the Vatican this special clearance and cover as a Nun to cooperate with us in gathering Intel regarding Hutu and Tutsi activities in Burundi. Does that sound like a plan? Mr. Giaggi said.” “Yes, I will enjoy returning to Burundi so long as I am not transferred around every few months of years, I said. “You have a deal, Sister Angelina, he said. “I will have the employment papers drawn up, and you can sign them tomorrow,” he said. Meanwhile, I will have Mr. Asher take you back to Washington, D.C. to your hotel. We have arranged for dinner for you at the hotel tonight, and all expenses are paid for by us,” he said. “I will meet with you tomorrow to finalize your contract and what kind of field training we are going to provide you with in your position at a monastery in Burundi, Africa, he concluded. “Have a nice evening and it was a pleasure meeting you Sister Angelina,” he said. “Mrs. Mandel and I will see you tomorrow, then,” he said. “I got up and shook both their hands, and left to go outside for my car driver to take me to my hotel in Washington, D.C.
The next day, I signed a two-year conditional contract as a CIA field agent assigned to Burundi, Africa. My cover story was I was from an Italian order of Nuns called the Sisters of Mary in Parma, Italy, and assigned to work with children teaching and abused mothers in the monastery woman’s clinic.
I was very excited to go back to Africa, on my terms this time, and looking forward to the training the CIA was going to provide me with. I began working for the CIA in a clerical setting for about a few weeks until they transferred me to Chicago where I was to receive a month of training in CIA field agent skills, and communication. 15
From Chicago I was transferred to Paris where my overseas papers and background information was completed. I was there for only a week and I received my final orders to fly to Burundi and contact the convent in Bujumbura where Italian and Polish Nuns were teaching children, and serving abused wives of Hutu and Tutsi woman. I barely had time to collect my things, and I was off to Africa. The CIA had provided me some regular clothing to wear since the Nuns of the Order of Mary did not wear Nun habits. The Sisters of Mary wore regular dresses rather than traditional Nun’s habits.
Just before leaving I got a message from one of the sub-directors of the CIA about a gentlemen in Palma Italy, whose sister was an Italian Nun who was murdered in September 2014, along with two other Nuns at the convent in Kamenge. This gentleman’s name was Boggian, and he had several high level connections in the Vatican. A Cardinal from the Vatican Holy See Giovanti, had personally contacted the American CIA, to request a favor in following up on the murders of the Nuns outside of the local police investigation. They did not want to let anyone know the Vatican was looking into the murders, officially. Wow, everything seem so hush, hush with the ‘powers that be’ regarding this terrible tragedy in Burundi.
It was expected that my passport would be French, not American, and the paperwork for my backup story was to be created in Paris, France. The CIA did not want any links leading back to the CIA, or an American interfering in an African countries local Policing policy. Paris was beautiful in the spring of the year 2015. My apartment was ½ a mile from the Eiffel tower, and 16
for that week I reported to the CIA Paris office in the U.S.A. Embassy to review documents, and study my phony background information. Since I was a Nun from the same order, the Xaverian Sisters of Mary may be more inclined to accept me into their fold. The Vatican Holy See was providing the Roman Catholic Church’s story, that I was a one of several replacements for the sisters that were murdered. The truth is no other sisters were being sent to Burundi.
Paris is the spring is so beautiful with all the trees along the boulevards blooming. The harsh winter days were over and the warm days of sunshine had returned. The week in Paris went by quickly, and before I knew it I was on my way to Burundi, Africa. The Holy See of the Vatican, in advance of my arrival, had sent a letter, so that the Mother Superior in Kamenge convent to expect me to arrive shortly.
Chapter 3-Burundi, Africa
I boarded the plane on Air Uganda airlines to Burundi, and had first class accommodation all the way to Africa. I departed early in the morning at 6:00 am arrived in Bujumbura the Capitol of Burundi in the early evening. The sun was just beginning to set as the plane arrived at the airport. I was met at the airport by a CIA field supervisor Dennis Roddenberg. “Bonjour monsieur,” I said, when we first met at the airport. He was a very gracious man dressed in a tie and dress shirt and slacks. He drove me to a hotel in the capitol city, Bujumbura to stay overnight, and then the next day I would have my final briefing. I was to be assigned a field operative, whom I was to report to on a weekly basis without the Nuns knowledge. He was to be a local that would blend in with the natives in Bujumbura. 17
When we arrived at the Hotel, I first met the local field operative I would be working with. “Sister Angelina, I would like to introduce your field operative Kwami,” Dennis said. Dennis went on to say that Kwami was a Hutu native, and he spoke French, Swahili and a limited amount of English. I tried a little Swahili on him also, “Habari,” I said (which means hello in Swahili). “Nzuri,” he responded which in Swahili meant “I am fine.” Kwami was a tall six feet African native, with short cut hair, and a shaven face. His skin was very dark, and he had a scar across the right side of his face. He was dressed in kaki pants, and kaki shirt looking almost like a uniform. He wore sandals, rather than boots however. I hoped he could see I had a good command of both French, and Swahili as we spoke casually in the foyer of the USA Embassy. Kwami would be most useful at the convent in Kamenge in the outskirts of Bujumbura, the Capitol, in providing me with information I needed, and in monitoring my stay with the Nuns at Kamenge Convent. “Sister Angelina, I have been instructed to take you to the Kamenge Convent tomorrow after you are briefed here as to the political situation, and the murders of the Nuns last year,” he said. “Since the Nuns are allowed to have cell phones you will be given a special cell phone to contact me or anyone at the Embassy when making reports or in case of any emergency,” he said. Do not tell anyone about the cell phone and try to hide it somewhere safe where it will not be discovered. No one will ever call you on the cell phone. It is strictly one way for you to call out. This will prevent an unwanted phone ringing sound when you least expect it Sister,” he said. “Mr. Roddenburg will introduce you to some of the staff here at the Embassy and take you to a few briefing meetings to help you become aware of the local situation in Kamenge Convent, and in Bujumbura as a whole,” he said. “Thank you Kwami,” I responded. “I 18
am looking forward to working with you,” I said. “One more thing Sister Angelina. I am the food vendor that brings food to the convent several times a week. The days when I come will allow you to keep me informed if no one is watching you,” Kwami said.
The meetings went on all day, and finally, I was driven back to the Hotel Dolce Vita Resort. I collapsed in my bed and slept for an hour before going downstairs for dinner. The CIA briefed me on everything, the murder the year before, the supposed culprit the police say was caught with the keys to the convent and a cell phone from one of the Nuns. The CIA felt the whole thing was a setup and the man caught has a reduced mental capacity, and could have easily been bought off to take the fall for the murders. Secondly, the Hutu and Tutsi conflicts were a sensitive issue in Burundi after the years of civil war. Most of the Italian Nuns had come from the DRC, Congo, after working with mothers and children for many years. Only in the past few years was it safe enough to come to Bujumbura, the Capitol, to work in a convent with abused women and children who needed schooling. All the facts were whirling though my head. So much to remember and I have to remember to be humble and to be careful about asking too many questions. After a vegetarian dinner, which was delicious, I retired back to my hotel room to pray and relax. The next day would be the beginning of a whole new career.
The next day Kwami showed up soon after breakfast with an old worn out looking jeep. “Good Morning Sister Angelina. How did you sleep last night,” he inquired. “I slept very well, thank you Kwami,” I answered. “We are off to the convent in Kamenge which is three miles from the U.S. Embassy today,” he said. “I will leave you without ceremony because I do not want anyone 19
to recognize me when I drive you to the convent. Remember I am the food delivery man and you will see me around a lot on deliver days in the kitchen,” he went on to say. “ I am excited to meet the Nuns at Kamenge Convent,” I said. “Do you have your bag packed, Sister?” he asked. “Yes I am packed and ready to go Kwami,” I said. “Let’s get going then,” he said, as he lifted my bag into the old jeep. Ten minutes later we arrived at the convent which was a simple cinderblock building in an off-white color next to a community church with some other buildings in a cluster. Young African children were playing soccer by kicking a can around the dusty parking lot. A rooster could be heard in the distance crowing as the sun began to rise for another hot African day. Kwami stopped and took out my suitcase and big me farewell and good luck. “I will see you next week Sister Angelina, Kwami said. “Be safe and most of all be careful Sister,” he said. “God Bless you,” I said as he got back into the jeep and drove away. There I was standing in a cloud of dust outside the convent door. I knocked on the door and a Nun came to the door, and asked whom I was. “Hello, I am Sister Angelina Vespucci,” I said when the door opened. “Welcome Sister, I am Sister Kathryn Collati, come right in,” she said. Sister Collati was dressed in a flowery dress and plain shoes. She could have easily passed for a housewife in Italy with no problem. Her grey hair indicated she was at least in her fifties or sixties. The Italian accent gave her away as being an Italian. It was almost lunchtime, and the Nuns were all in the chapel praying when I arrived. Sister Kathryn, and I waited in the dining room for the sisters to finish their noontime prayer.
Several African women were milling around and serving food on the table as we sat and chatted. “So have you come all the way from Italy or America Sister,” She asked? No, I was assigned to a 20
convent in Paris for a while,” I lied., “Have you been to Africa before Sister Angelina,” She went on to ask? “Yes, Sister Kathryn, I served two years in the Congo, Burundi, and in Kenya as a teacher for the Sisters of Charity in Riverdale, Bronx, New York,” I replied. “That sounds wonderful,” she replied. Mother Superior will be along shortly after noonday prayers. We have six other Sisters at this convent; Sister Louise, Sister Elaina, Sister Margarette, Sister Madeline and myself.
Mother Superior is also known as Sister Julianna, but we do not call her by that name. Just then I heard the Nuns singing an African song as they emerged from noonday chapel. The last Nun out of the chapel was Mother Superior. As Sister Kathryn, and I sat on the bench in the dining hall Mother Superior approached us, and introduced herself. “Welcome Sister Angelina, we have been waiting for you for several weeks since we got a letter from the Vatican Holy See that you would be coming to replace our departed sisters,” she said. Reaching out her arms to give me a hug, she exclaimed, “How wonderful it is to finally get to meet you.” “Come you must tell us all about your travels, and your time in Africa in the Congo, Kenya, and Burundi, she exclaimed. “Thank you Mother Superior, I am glad to be here back in Africa. I have always loved Africa,” I said. “Come sit down, and I will introduce you to all our sisters after Grace, she said. Sister Kathryn led the Grace for the meal. “Father we ask thy blessing on this food today and all those that are to partake in this meal. Bless the hungry in Africa and the World. Bless the poor in Africa and the world and help them to bring Jesus into their life. Bless our volunteers, our students and our mothers that we counsel. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.” 21
Sister Angelina allow me to introduce Sister Louise, Sister Elaina, Sister Margarette, and Sister Madeline. You have already met Sister Kathryn I believe. Let’s us all eat, and enjoy in celebration of a new member to our convent. Some of the Nuns spoke better French than English, out of respect I spoke French. I told them of my days in teaching in the Congo, and Burundi, and how I was transferred to Kenya against my wishes and my cancer scare after 22 years in Africa. I explained that I had taken a leave of absence for medical reasons and returned to the United States to seek treatment for breast cancer. All of the Nuns were most sympathetic.
After lunch all of the Nuns returned to teaching children and counseling abused women. Mother Superior showed me to my room in the convent. She told me after I rested I could join them in the school. I unpacked my suitcase in my barren room with nothing on the walls but a crucifix. After washing up I returned to see what was going on in the children’s school the Nuns taught in. The first classroom I saw was what looked like a kindergarten class with six little toddlers sitting in a circle playing with clay. The next classroom, had ten early grade level students who were using water paints to create pictures. The third and last class, was eight upper grade level students who were learning the English alphabet along side the French alphabet. It warmed my heart to be in a school once again. I could not wait until I would be able to join with the Sisters of Mary in teaching. Sister Kathryn gave me a tour of the buildings and the church next door. In another building there was a lounge, and several bedrooms for women seeking refuge from their abusive husbands. I observed one Nun, Sister Elaina sitting talking with an African woman in a room that had a one-way mirror for observation of counseling sessions. In the lounge sat a dozen 22
African women with infants, babies crying, and screaming. The noise echoed off the cinderblock walls, and rang in my ears. Some of the mothers were singing to their children and others just rocking them in their arms. It seemed like a peaceful place to be despite the babies crying. One cute little boy came running up to me and said, “shikamoo,” which means in Swahili, I touch your feet as a sign of respect (younger to older greeting in Swahili). “Marahabaa,” I responded (meaning I acknowledge your respect. I patted him on the head and he turned and ran off. Sister Elaina pointed out that the children were very friendly. “They have not had to suffer from the terrible terror in the civil wars,” Sister Elaina said. “I see, is the civil war still on their minds,” I asked? “The anger between the Hutu and the Tutsi is just under their skins as you can imagine,” she said. “How often do the children come to school,” I inquired? “Everyday, Monday to Friday,” Sister Elaina responded. “I love working with young children. To look into their innocent little faces gives great pleasure,” I said. “Come I will show you their lunch room. “We give them either a box lunch each day or a hot meal or stew if we can afford the meat,” she said. We entered a high ceiling room with bare beams in the ceiling. Ceiling fans moved the air around and kept the lunchroom cool from the African heat. Small groups of children were already lined up for their lunch. “Sometimes this lunch is the only meal they get all day,” Sister Elaina remarked. “We make the difference between them starving or living healthy, she went on to point out. “We get aid from the USA, Italy, and the World Health organization. Sometimes it is dried food and other times it is medical supplies. All of our students have had all the necessary vaccinations to prevent most childhood diseases. We are also very cautious to detect any signs of Ebola. We have not gotten the new serum yet, but if there is a problem we have asked for serum to fight the disease,” she said. “I can see it is very important to stay ahead of any diseases to 23
insure the children and their families stay healthy,” I commented. “Let us go into the Abused Women’s Counseling Center,” Sister Elaina said. “We have served over a thousand woman in the past year alone from abuse from their husbands. The Burundi men treat their women poorly like cattle and show them little respect. It is a poor tradition we have worked hard to correct. You must be especially sensitive to whether the women are Hutu or Tutsi and be sure not to mix them together in discussion groups. The hatred between the two ethnic groups has a long and bad history back to the civil wars in the 1990’s. Some of our volunteers will help you sort out which women are Hutu or Tutsi, “ she said. “I will keep you advise in mind Sister,” I commented. “So, what do you think of our little Convent and School” Sister Elaina asked? “I think you have a wonderful setup here with many loving Sisters and volunteers,” I responded. The village I served with in Burundi a few years ago was much more primitive and did not have any permanent buildings other than grass shacks,” I commented. “Well, we hope you are going to like it here. “We are short-handed with only seven Nuns total including you,” she said. “It will take some time and patience to get used to working with the abused women,” she went on to say. “Sometimes they are beaten up so severely that we have to hospitalize them to heal their wounds,” she said. “Is it advisable to talk to their husbands,” I asked? “No, do not approach the husband ever,” she pointed out. “Their male pride gets in the way of their thinking and they do not want to be singled out for beating their wife or wives,” she remarked. “Yes, you must know some of the richer men have several wives if they can afford them,” she said. “I see,” I remarked. “Let’s sit down and have some tea and I will have Mother Superior talk with you for a while and work our what your first assignment will be,” she said.
“That sounds wonderful,” I said. 24
We talked all morning about stories of Africa and stories of home Italy an America. All of the Nuns I noticed were quite old in their seventies and eighties. They were in need of some young blood to be sure. I didn’t feel I was young blood, but in comparison to their ages I was 20-30 years their junior. I observed there was some tenseness in the air that you could not put your finger on, but it still lingered just the same. I felt from the beginning there was more to this assignment than helping battered women and teaching children. The reality is that this was Burundi the land of many decades of dreaded violence and ethic cleansing. I was well informed about Burundi, and it’s history at the CIA, but I was already aware of the tensions from the short six-month assignment I had in Burundi a few years ago.
That afternoon I met with Mother Superior to discuss my assignment and the rules of the convent. Mother Superior pointed out that the Nuns dressed casually in dresses rather than habits so they would blend in with the natives. Some Africans saw the Nuns habits as a kind of uniform of the old colonial days of the whites invading Africa. We discussed my strengths and desire to teach children, so Mother Superior assigned me to assist Sister Elaina in the early elementary grade classroom. Mother Superior suggested that down the road I could begin to assist in working with abused women in the clinic. I was excited to begin teaching, but the day had passed by with talks and meetings. After talking with Mother Superior I want back to my room to get ready for Evening prayer and dinner. I changed into another dress for dinner and Evening prayer and walked over to the Church Chapel for prayers. 25
Some of the Sisters were practicing some African spiritual songs and their voices blended together so beautifully. I sat and listened to their bird like voices. It was a most pleasurable moment for me. The light was beginning to dim and shadows covered the chapel. The heat of the day was beginning to subside and all the cares of the day seem to float away in the chapel at that moment.
Chapter 4- Settling In
As the week went by I began to adjust to the African heat, and the busy daily schedules: Morning prayer at 6:00 am, breakfast, daily chores, Teaching assignment to noon, Noon Day Prayer service, Lunch, rest time, Afternoon teaching assignment, Evening Prayer with song, dinner, prayer and mediation time, and evening vespers. The Nuns were most welcoming to have another hand to help in their mission.
As the second week progressed, I met the cook, Doto, who was a smiling cheerful heavy woman in her early 50’s. She was a woman who had been abused by her husband many years before. She took her two children at the time, and fled her village, and came to the convent at Kamenge. The Nuns hid her, and protected her in their convent. Later on Tutis rebels killed her husband when they raided her village. Doto began a new life at the convent cooking for all the Nuns, staff, women, and the children. She spoke Swahili, French, and some broken English. I knew she would be important to get to know because my CIA contact Swami would be delivering food to 26
her once or twice a week, and I would need to make contact with him during that interval of time.
Bahati was another abused woman of late 30’s or early 40’s. She was the assistant cook for the convent. She was also a volunteer. Like Doto, she was always smiling and worked hard to provide three meals a day for the Nuns, staff, women, and children. Sometimes Bahati and Doto would come to Morning Prayer or evening prayer with the Nuns. They were always welcome. “Habari Doto,” I said in Swahili early that morning before Morning Prayer. “Nzuri,” she responded with a wild smile. She was busy chopping carrots in the kitchen at the time. “Jina langu ni Angelina,” I responded the first time we met. “Nafurahi kukuona Angelina,” (I am pleased to meet you Angelina) Doto answered. So, our first meeting, I had to rush to Morning Prayer. “Kwaheri Doto,” (good bye Doto) I answered as I rushed off to Morning Prayer.
The following week on Monday, Swami was to make a delivery to the convent. I tried to make sure I was around when he delivered the food to give him a short message that the Nuns, and the staff were accepting me, and there were no problems. As I was in my classroom with Sister Kathryn teaching our young children English words and phrases I looked out the window to see Swami in a white food truck. I excused myself with Sister Kathryn when we were teaching the children, saying I had to go to the bathroom. As I entered the courtyard where the food truck was parked, Swami noticed me coming toward the truck. As he passed by me with a hand truck full of boxes of fresh vegetables, I handed him a small paper note, and kept walking toward the bathroom. That was my first drop as the CIA called it. If problems developed or Hutu or Tutsi 27
husbands made physical threats against me, I needed to inform the CIA at the American
Embassy. I also had a throwaway cell phone, but I could never use it with anyone around me. I
did not want the Nuns or staff knowing that I was contacting someone outside the convent.
A few days later Sister Margarette taught me a song we could sing with the children in Swahili.
Sister Margarette was in her 60’s, grey hair, short and Italian. She spoke French, English, Italian,
Swahili and several other African languages spoken in Kenya and South Africa. She was very
talented with a guitar that seemed as old as she was with the many wrinkles in her face and
hands. “Sister Angelina we are going to teach our students how to sing this simple song in
Swahili,” Sister Margarette said. Here is the first line. I have written it down for you to memorize
Let us begin in the cord of C with Sina Mungu mwingine ila wewe (I have no other God but You) Now A minor, Moyo wangu watambua jemedari (My heart recognizes the Commander) To the F cord, Nafsi yangu yakutamani ewe (My soul desires You) Back up to the G7 cord at the top of the guitar, and back to the C major cord again with the last line.
Roho yangu yahitaji Tabibu (My spirit needs The Physician) (From the top) Shuka kwa utukufu wako nikuone (Let me see you come down in Your Glory) Am cord, Shekinah, utukufu wako (Shekinah Glory) F major cord, Utukufu wako (Your Glory), This last line we repeat four times in the G7 cord,” She said.
I hummed the tune as Sister Margarette played the song over, and over on her guitar. “I wish I
could play a guitar,” I responded. “Perhaps you can learn someday with practice,” Sister 28
Margarette answered. “Perhaps,” I agreed. “Let’s take it from the top again Sister Angelina,” Sister Margarette said. “Sina Mungu mwingine ila wewe,” she sang the first verse so easily. All day long I was mumbling the song under my breath to memorize the Swahili words. It was a simple and beautiful song. I prayed that evening at Vespers that might one day learn to play the guitar like Sister Margarette. I am a Soprano, and several of the other sisters were sopranos also, with a few Altos to sing the second line of music. The church chapel echoed our beautiful voices given up for the glory of Jesus Christ. I slept well that night.
Toward the end of the first week our first crisis developed. Late in the evening of the second week there was a lot of noise in the courtyard of the convent. Dogs were barking, chickens clucking, and loud voices could be heard yelling something. All of the Nuns were in Vespers at the time. We stopped what we were doing, and rushed outside to see several of the woman staff members Hasanti and Halima carrying a badly injured woman who was bleeding from the face and arms. She was a local Hutu wife whose husband accused her of having affections for his brother in their tribe. He beat her severely almost killing her. After he fell into a drunken stupor, she escaped and walked ten miles to the Kamenge Convent. Mother Superior had the women and a few nuns take the woman into the clinic to be bandaged and cared for. We all returned to finishing Vespers afterward.
The next morning knowing the husband would try and follow his wife we prepared to hide her in the church in a hidden room behind the altar. As expected the raging mad husband showed up later in the afternoon asking where he wife was. The wife’s name was Ngozi Eze, and we hid her 29
in the secret room behind the altar. The male volunteers tried to calm the man down. Matata and Bongani told him that they had no seen any women named Ngozi. They told him to look in the markets in downtown Bujumbura. After an hour of raving and ranting he decided to leave, when Matata threatened to call the local police and have him arrested. After he was gone Mother Superior sent Malaika to the local courthouse to file a restraining order against Ngozi Eze’s husband, named Gwembeshe Eze, for fear of her life. We knew now that Ngozi would be a marked woman until the representatives for the Church could file legal papers to protect her and possibly give her a divorce from her husband. The problem in these domestic abuse situations was always the children left behind. Sometimes were able to send someone to retrieve the children and sometimes we are rejected. Mother Superior told me it always comes down to money or barter in the end especially when the husband has several wives. “Sometimes it take a few goats or a donkey to trade for a battered wife to be free of her husband,” Mother Superior told me one day. After the husband was gone I went to the clinic to see if I could help the suffering woman with her wounds. She needed stiches on her face from a long knife wound. She also had deep slash cuts on her arms. Sister Louise and I sewed up her wounds while Sister Margarette put iodine on the bruises to kill any infection. Mother Superior supervised while we worked on this poor woman. “Ngozi, you understand that if you stay here with us at the convent that we will have to file legal papers first in order to legally protect you from your husband,” Mother Superior said. “Do you want to divorce your husband,” Mother Superior asked Ngozi? “Yes, Sister, my husband is crazy and he will kill me for no reason. I have no interest in his brother. It is his brother that tried to make my husband jealous and he overreacted by beating me senseless. (All this she said in Swahili and French) Sister Louise interpreted what she said to 30
Mother Superior for me. I understood some of her French but not all of the Swahili. Another learning experience, I said to myself. I could see how the Nuns had all gone though this experience before and were well equipped to caring for abused women and hiding them for their own safety. Eventually, one of our male staff volunteers would take some goats or another prized animal and go out to the tribe and make an offer to buy the wife from the abusive husband. Once the husband got over his anger, money or barter always worked.
“Well I have to get back to my students,” I said and prepared to leave the clinic. “If you need any assistance Mother Superior, do not hesitate to call me, “ I said. When I got back to my classroom we worked with clay and made little animals with the children. They love to work with their hands and mold different turtles, frogs, and birds. After an hour or so of clay work we cleaned up and had the entire student wash their hands. One little girl named Abena was having difficulty washing the clay off her hands. I went over to the sink to help her out. She was the cutest thing with a little round face and a nice flowery blue African style dress on. I showed her how to use the hand brush to get the clay out of her nails. She smiled and thanked me, “Asante,” she said. I replied in Swahili, “Nakutakia siku njema Abena,”(Have a nice day Abena). Our paths had crossed and a little bond was created that day.
We kept Ngozi in hiding for several weeks until the paperwork was finished. Matata and Chinwe, two or our male volunteers took two goats and a bottle of wine to the husband of Ngozi to buy her freedom and to get the husband to sign a divorce decree from the courts. They left 31
early in the morning after breakfast to walk the ten miles to the tribal village on the outskirts of Bujumbura the Capital.
Early that evening they returned without the goats and the bottle of wine. The husband drove a hard bargain, but they got him to sign the paperwork for the divorce decree. Mother Superior decided it would be safer to send Ngozi to work in the Convent in the Congo rather than have to go into hiding for a year in Bujumbura. “You will be safe there until we can call you back to our Convent in six months or a year,” Mother Superior explained to Ngozi. Ngozi cried for her children and her family, but she knew Mother Superior was right that if she stayed at the Convent, even with the legal divorce, her husband when drunk might come looking for her.
Ngozi left in a taxi for the railroad station in downtown Bujumbura. Mother Superior had given her some cash and a letter to the Mother Superior at their Congo Convent to allow Ngozi to reside there until the danger from her husband was over. Ngozi left with only a small travel bag of used clothes the Nuns put together for her. That was the last we saw of Ngozi for a year.
Ebola and AIDS were two deadly viruses everyone in Africa was afraid of contracting. Nuns had heard horror stories of the flesh eating Ebola virus that had no cure. Fortunately, a Doctors and a volunteer woman assistant came down with Ebola were flown back to the U.S.A. to the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia to be treated with a new serum from San Diego, California which had not been approved by the FDA yet. The serum and treatment of containing the virus worked and the volunteer worker was released first and then the Doctor recovered and he was released. Small 32
portions of the serum were being flown to Africa to use in combating Ebola in some patients that have the disease. Mother Superior had a discussion one day about the symptoms of Ebola or AIDS and how we should proceed. We were told to use plastic gloves at all times and facemasks to prevent inhaling any viruses that can transmit through the air. AIDS required direct contact and in that case we are to inform public health to prevent an epidemic. We were all afraid of both diseases, but went about our work daily without showing the fear.
Chapter 5- Researching the case.
Two months later Swami my CIA contact left some news articles about the Nuns that were murdered at the Kamenge convent a year before. I was briefed about this tragedy at the CIA but no follow-up was provided. Now the CIA wanted me to ask the Nuns what they knew about the murders and the murder caught. Some Nuns had gone on record in the Newspapers a year ago saying that one man could not have done all these killings in one night. The killer was declared a mental patient and sent to a Mental Hospital without a trial. The local authorities called it case closed, but many lingering facts do not support the local police version. The CIA wanted me to find some facts that could not uncover, but at the same time I was to be extremely careful and not to enter into any tribal villages seeking information about the massacre.
One day Mother Superior and Sister Elaine Luna went for a day trip to a tribal village ten miles away from the convent. Mother Superior wanted to check up on several abused wives that she 33
had worked with over the years to see how they were doing. This gave me an opportunity to enter Mother Superior’s office after she left with Sister Elaine. I made an excuse I wasn’t feeling well that day and would spend the morning in bed in my room. No one was around Mother Superior’s office at the time and the door was unlocked. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I started with the file cabinets that seemed to have a file on every child and every abuse mother that attended the clinic over the past ten years. I search through file cabinet after file cabinet until I realized that if I checked abused mothers that were counseled in the spring of 2014 I might find something of interest. I did find that Sister Bernadetta Boggian worked with some Hutu women that were abused from a tribal village nearby. The woman’s names were in the file, and the months they stayed at the clinic until Sister Boggian, Rawschetti, and Pulici were murdered. That seemed strange, perhaps the husbands of the battered Hutu woman took revenge on the Sisters for sheltering, and treating the runaway Hutu wives? There were several husbands listed next to their wives in one folder of a file that Sister Bernadetta had kept. I wrote the names down: Tumbuka Nkruma, Simisola Oluwaseyi, Opeyemi Omobolanle, and Nwanneka Nkiruka and stuffed the paper in my pocket. As I was closing the file cabinet, Malaika one of the volunteer teaching assistants, walked by the office, but did not realize I was behind the closed door. I waited until she left, then I slipped our of the office, and back to my room. I now had a theory that vengeance might have been a motive for the Nuns being murdered. I would inform the CIA of the men’s names so that they could investigate these Hutu men, and see if they had ever threatened any of the Nuns or Mother Superior. Noonday prayers were being offered, and if I did not show up some of the Nuns would begin asking questions as to where I was? I hurried over to the chapel in the church and arrived just in time for the first hymn of the service. I had to find a 34
way to see if any of the Nuns knew who these husbands were that I found in Mother Superior’s file cabinets.
Two weeks later I was talking to Sister Margarette about the dangers of working with Hutu abused women, Tutsi abused women, staying out of politics, and local hatreds. Sister Margarette. “You know Sister Angelina you have to be very careful when counseling abused wife’s of Hutu or Tutsi tribesman,” Sister Margarette commented. “Sometimes you could be could be very involved in saving a women from her abusive husband and not realize the danger if the husband is violent and seeks revenge or justice as he sees it, Sister Margarette said. “I understand Sister Margarette and I am learning,” I responded. “What happened to the Nuns that were killed a year ago,” I asked Sister Margarette. She had a startled look on her face when I asked the question. “I cannot talk about it Sister and you would be wise not to ask anyone,” Sister Margarette warned. “Ok,” I responded. It was obvious a painful and secret kept by all the Nuns for some reason. I went about my daily activities painfully aware that none of the Nuns were going to be helpful in discovering the real facts about the murdered Nuns a year ago.
That evening Mother Superior returned with Sister Elaina just in time for evening prayer. “How was your day in the Hutu tribal village,” I asked Mother Superior?
“It went well,” she said and that was all. Getting information from Mother Superior was like pulling teeth. She was always very secretive and spoke very little about sensitive issues of politics and the Hutu and Tutsi situation. 35
The next day Swami came with a food delivery. I gave him a paper note with the names of the Hutu men of several abused women that Sister Olga has treated in the spring of 2014. I need the CIA to research these men and see if they were still alive or whether, they had ever been interviewed by the local police after the murders. I could see that I was never going to get any information from the Nuns without arising suspicion. Perhaps there was some other explanation that I was not aware of involving the murders? After Swami delivered the food for the day, a priest visited Mother Superior. His name was Father Michel Tognazzi, and this was the first time I had seen him visit the convent. “Sister Madeline, who is this Father Michel Tognazzi,” I asked. “He is the Priest in charge of our Convent assigned by the Vatican,” she said. “Oh, I said, I wonder why he is visiting Mother Superior,” I asked? “It is usually about some major issue,” Sister Madeline said. “He seldom comes just to visit,” she said. I wish I could be a fly on the wall that day, but that was never going to happen, so I kept my doubts, and questions to myself. Father Tognazzi stayed for evening prayer, and then left before darkness.
I would not discover the real reason for Father Tognazzi’s visit until a month later when Mother Superior mentioned at dinner one night that there was some trouble with some of the Hutu tribes, and we were warned by Father Tognazzi to be careful with both Hutu woman and Tutsi women and children. Strange how Mother Superior mention this as a matter of fact? I guess she had gotten use to the political dangers of working with Hutu and Tutsi women and children? It was very puzzling to me. I prayed about it that night. 36
One day I spoke to Bongani, one of our male volunteers, who was working in the gardens outside the church building. Speaking in Swahili I said, “Habari Bongani,” (Hello) “Hujambo,” (are you fine?)? “Sijambo,” he responded while planting some beautiful flowers. “Ninaitwa Angelina (My name is Angelina),” I said. “Nimefurahi,” (I am pleased to know you) he responded. “Do you speak any English Bongani. “? Kidogo tu,”(Just a little bit) he responded. “Your flowers are beautiful,” I said. “Do you like living here in the convent,” I asked. “Yes, Sister, he responded. “How old are you Bongani,” I asked. “I am age 23 Sister,” he said. “Where do you get these beautiful flowers,” I asked him? “Some people give them to the Nuns as gifts, and other flowers I dig up myself growing wild,” he said. “They add much beauty to the church,” I said. “Thank you Sister,” he said. “I will see you later,” I said. I went to teach my students wondering in the back of my head what kind of a life Bongani had working as a volunteer for the Sisters?
Mother Superior asked me one day if would like to visit the Cathédrale Regina Mundi, “Queen of the World Cathedral in the Capitol city Bujumbura.” “Yes, Mother Superior, I would be thrilled to see the Cathedral. I have never see it before,” I said. “Good, we will bring Sisters Kathryn, Louise and Madeline with us today,” she said. “Matata will drive us to the Cathedral,” she said. When we went outside the buildings, there was Matata in a Jeep ready to drive us to the Cathedral that was nine miles away from the convent. “Bon Jour, Sisters,” Matata said. We all eagerly climbed into the jeep for a day at the cathedral in the heart of Bujumbura. Thirty minutes later we arrived at the Cathedral. It was surprisingly modern with a high tower the dominated all the buildings around it. The interior of the nave was very large and could handle hundreds of 37
people. Everything about the Cathedral was modern. I was used to Cathedrals built in Gothic style as in America with St. Peters Cathedral and the Washington Cathedral in Washington, D.C. We spent some time praying at the small chapels around the outside edge of the Cathedral. The bell tower was most impressive rising about seven stories above the ground. At the gift shop we purchased a few religious items to give to our staff at the convent, and to give to the battered woman we counseled. We ate lunch nearby at the Sion public market, and had a most entertaining day.
Chapter 6- The Monte Carlo Casinos, Monaco
(Casino du Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo, Monaco) “I wish to place fifty Euros on number 15 please,” said Alfonse Boggian. “I always do well at Roulette,” he said. “Francisca, come and watch me win,” he shouted to his girlfriend. “Oh, Alfonse you are so lucky,” Francisca said with a mile wide smile. “Number 15 is the winner, you won 1750 Euros Sir, congratulation, said the croupier. “Yes, now I am the winner. Come on Francisca I am going to play some poker and win back the money I owe the Casino du Monte Carlo. Alfonse walks over to the poker table and sits down. “1,000 Euros in chips please,” he asks. “Yes Sir, 1,000 Euros in chips for monsieur,” said the croupier.
Several hours later Alfonse was down $50,000 Euros that he has borrowed against his house credit. He plays he last hand with two pair and loses his last $100 in Euros. Can I borrow an additional $25,000 Euros,” he asks? “I am sorry sir you are over the house limit on borrowing,” said the croupier. 38
Well honey I am out of money for the night. Let’s go to the Casino du Paris Francisca, maybe I will be luckier there,” Alfonse said. “Hail a cab for us Francisca, I have to go the bathroom,” he said. Minutes later they were on their way to the Casino du Paris in the early hours of the morning. Alfonse gambled there all night into the daylight hours until he exceeded the houseborrowing limit again. “Let’s go back to the hotel Francisca, I am exhausted and need to get some sleep,” he said. “Sure sweetie, I am very tired to and drunk from to many drinks,” Francisca said. Francisca was a typical young Italian party girl, with long brunette hair and light olive shaded skin, thick eye brows and lots of make up. Alfonso had met Francisca in Rome while on vacation on year. She was a waitress in a café in Rome at the time. He lived in an apartment in Padua at the time now far from his father’s estate in Padua where hundreds of acres were dedicated to wine vineyards. After a short weekend romance Alfonse asked Francisca to come and live with him in Padua. He had convinced her that he was a millionaire living in Padua and having a share in his father’s vineyards. The truth was that Alfonse had no interest in wine making or had ever shown any interest in nothing but money. Francisca agreed to move in with him in Padua and she looked forward to the life of a jet setter and international playboy, only to realize after a month that Alfonso was broke and owed everyone in Italy and many other countries around the world.
They returned to their room in the Hotel du Monte Carlo and collapsed in their bed. Around noontime they both woke and ordered lunch to be delivered to their room with some Champaign. “Well we are broke, so I guess it is time to return to Padua Francisca,” Alfonse said. “Maybe I 39
can borrow some money from poppa Boggian when we get home,” he said? “It will be fine dear, “ Francisca replied. Let’s go home before the casinos come after me for the loans they made,” Alfonse said. “Yes that sounds like a good idea,” Francisca commented. “I’ll go down and pay the hotel bill with what money I have left,” Alfonso said. “You call the porter and have him come up and pick up our bags,” Alfonso told Francisca. “I’ll meet you downstairs sweetheart,” he said and kissed her goodbye. Downstairs Alfonso tried to pay the hotel bill on a credit card but it was rejected. Instead he paid the bill with some cash and another credit card that wasn’t maxed out yet. “Francisca, I have tickets for a flight back to Rome, Italy for this afternoon, so let’s go to the airport early,” Alfonso replied. So another big weekend gambling was over and Alfonso returned to Padua and the wrath of his father Sisto for squandering thousands of Euros gambling. It was not going to be a fun experience for Alfronso.
Chapter 7- Suspicion Raised it’s Head.
A week after our return from the trip to the Cathedral, I sensed a change in Mother Superior’s attitude toward me. She was becoming more and more suspicious of my asking questions that all seemed to center on the three nuns that were murdered a year ago in the summer of 2014. I tried to be discrete but getting information out of Nuns that did not talk a lot was like pulling teeth. Finally, Mother Superior called me to her office one day. I had a feeling she was questioning my real mission at the convent and this would be the showdown. “Good afternoon Sister Angelina,” Mother Superior said as I entered her office. “Good afternoon to you also, Mother Superior,” I replied. “Sit down Sister Angelina. I have some growing concerns,” she said. “Oh, what are your concerns,” Mother Superior. “I was suspicious before you arrived when I got a letter directly 40
from the Vatican Holy See about your coming to our little convent. Of all the convents in Africa, why our convent and why now after we had three nuns murdered in the summer of 2014,” she said? “Many of the Sisters have told me you have asked a lot of questions about the murder of the three nuns from our convent, and that seems unusual to them,” she went on to say. “I come to your convent Mother Superior with only the purest of intentions,” I said. It is true that I have expressed an interest in the murder of the three nuns only because I have been asked to do so behind closed doors in the Vatican Holy See and from Senore Sisto Boggian, the brother of slain Sister Olga Boggian, “ I replied. “I see said Mother Superior,” with a concerned look on her face. “I know of Senore Boggian, and his son Alfonso,” she said. “They are very rich land owners in Padua Italy where Sister Olga grew up before joining the Sisters of Mary order,” she said. “I had a feeling he would try to interfere with the Police investigation here in Kamenge because he is such a powerful person back in Italy, she went on to say. “So what is your real purpose for coming to our convent,” she asked? “Mother Superior I came because I was asked both by the CIA of American, the Vatican Holy See, and Senor Boggian who grieved for the loss of his older sister,” I said. “This is to be confidential because the Vatican Holy See cannot in open public admit to investigating the murder of catholic nuns in Africa where it has no jurisdiction,” I said. “I understand,” Mother Superior said. “My concern she said was stirring up resentment between Hutu and Tutsi tribes or between Hutu or Tutsi abusive husbands and their runaway wives,” Mother Superior said. “I realize that if I try to send you back to America, I will have the power of the Vatican Holy See down on my head and there will be many questions here at the convent as to what was wrong,” she said. “Trust me Mother Superior I have at my disposal a great deal of political power from two countries, The Vatican, America and from a very rich man Senore 41
Boggian. “I understand,” Mother Superior responded. “How they may I help you to expedite this matter and put it to rest,” Mother Superior asked? “You mentioned you know of or have met Sister Olga’s brother Sisto Boggian,” I asked. “Yes, the week before Sister Bernadetta, Sister Lucia, and Sister Olga were murdered Senore Belgian’s son Alfonso came to visit his Aunt Sister Bernadetta all the way from Italy, “ she said. “Oh, do you know what the purpose of his visit was by any chance,” I asked? “Yes, Sister Bernadetta was very upset after his visit, “ she said. “Why is that,” I asked. “Sister Bernadette told me that her nephew, Alfonso wanted his Aunt to change her will which upon her death transferred all the family properties in Padua, Italy to her younger brother Senore Sisto Boggian,” she said. “What interest did the nephew Alfonso have in the estate and family riches,” I asked? “Apparently, the nephew Alfonso was deep in debt as a result of his gambling and he wanted Sister Bernadetta to change her will to include him in a portion of the family estates and riches, “ she said. “I see he is in financial trouble then and he wanted his aunt to help him out by changing her will,” I said. “May I ask you Mother Superior do you believe that this man Christian Buoy Claude was really the killer of the nuns,” I asked? “No, Christian used to hang around the convent. He was a mentally challenged your man, naïve and often unable to care for himself. We gave him odd jobs and free food because we all felt sorry for him. He was a Tutsi and was hit in the head by a club from a rebel Hutu when he was a child and it caused brain damage and he was never the same after that,” she said. “I read that Christian was caught with keys to the convent on him and one of the Nun’s cell phone,” I said.
“That is either the dumbest murderer even or someone put him up to taking the keys and cell phone,” I said. “The police seemed convinced because he is a simple man and a Tutsi and could not really defend himself. He made for an easy solution to a major massacre for the local 42
officials that were under pressure from the President of Burundi and the Vatican,” she said. “In my heart I do not believe this simple minded man could have done this at all,” she said. “Where is he now Mother Superior,” I asked? “I think he was put in a mental hospital for examination, “ she responded. “Do your think it would be possible for me to interview Christian in the hospital Mother Superior,” I asked? “I imagine it might be possible if I ask a favor of the local Police,” she said. “You must take Matata since he can drive and he personally knows Christian,” she said. “This will be our secret,” I said. “Yes, it troubles me that no resolution ever came from our dear sisters deaths that seemed to have no meaning. There was no theft or destruction of property, just the brutal killing of three beloved nuns, “ she continued. “Would you please make arrangements with the local police for me to go to the mental hospital and interview Christian to hear his side of the story,” I asked? ‘Yes, yes I will contact the local police today on your behalf and mine and I will ask Matata to drive you to the hospital after we receive permission,” she said with great sadness on her face. “ I hope that we will get to the bottom of this situation and resolve who the real killer or killers are to put our minds at rest and to satisfy the political powers that be,” I remarked.
“It seems strange that, Alfonso the Nephew, would travel all the way to Africa to ask his Aunt, that he had not every seen before, to change her will,” I said. “Yes I believe Sister Bernadette was surprised and angry at the same time that her nephew would challenge his father’s right to the family estates and riches. “Why were the family estates and riches in Sister Bernadette’s name and not in her brother Sisto’s name, “ I asked. “Sister Bernadette parents died when she was young and they left the estates to her because she was the oldest child at the time and her 43
younger brother was too young to inherit the family fortune. Soon after her parents death she became a Nun and orally agreed that her brother would manage the estates and family fortunes so long as she was in Africa as a nun. The issue had never come up before between her brother Sisto and her,” Mother Superior commented.
Chapter 8- A Visit to The Neuropsychiatric Centre of Kamenge
Several weeks after my talk with Mother Superior regarding my real mission at the convent, she managed to get permission for me to visit Christian at the local mental hospital in Kamenge, Bujumbura. Matata drove me to the Neuropsychiatric Centre of Kamenge near our convent early in the morning to meet with the NPCK director Hyppolite Manirakiza regarding Christian Butoyi Claude. Director Manirakiza was a brother of the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity that had a worldwide organization. As we arrived at the NPCK which was a little north of the convent and only a few miles away, we were welcomed by Hyppolite Manirakiza who was a gentle overweight, short African man with dark skin, and short cut hair and horn rimmed glasses. He was wearing a white lab coat over a shirt, tie and slacks. “Habari, Hyppolite,” I said. “Nzuri,” he responded. “No need to be so formal speaking Swahili, I speak English also,” he said. “Thank you,” I responded. “I am here to interview Christian Butoy Claude who was accused of murdering three nuns last year in September 2014. “Ah, yes, I know the young man well. He has been a very non-violent quiet patient the past year. He is brain damaged from a child-hood injury 44
you know, “ He said. “Come let us sit down in my office and talk,” he responded. Mother Superior told me she was never satisfied that Christian Butoy Claude was responsible for these horrible murders. He was too simple of a man who never threatened or hurt anyone when he hung around the convent,” she said. “Yes, I agree but the evidence seems to make him guilty,” he said. “Christian changes his story from day to day,” Hyppolite said. “He has never told the same story twice over the past year,” he said. “The police said he told them he owned the land on which the Covent was built, “ I remarked. “Ah, yes, another fairy tale,” he said. “Christian has never owned anything in his entire life. His parents were killed by Hutus and he was clubbed in the head and left for dead,” Hyppolite said. “What is your opinion as Director of the Hospital,” I asked? “I don’t think we will ever know,” he said. “Someone gave him the cell phone and the keys and perhaps paid him to make up a story. He never could have gotten the keys because the nuns wore them around their waist in a belt, “ he said.
I am having an attendant bring Christian into the interview room for you to talk to. Keep your assistant with you. What is his name? “ He asked. “Matata is his name,” I answered. “You and Matata can go into the interview room now, Christian will be here shortly,” he said. We went into a brightly lit room with many windows and a center table and padded executive style chairs. “Well the moment of truth,” I told Matata. “Yes, Sister, he was a good but simple man when I knew him, “Matata said. Just then an attendant brought Christian into the room and sat him down in a chair. He was dressed in a simple baggy pants and matching shirt that you see in prisons and state institutions. “Good morning Christian, “I said, Hujambo. He responded in Swahili sijambo (I am fine).” Can you speak any English,” I asked. He responded, “No.” Ok, no 45
problem. Matata will translate for me in Swahili. “Unazungumza Kiswahili (Do you speak Swahili),” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied. “Matata will you help translate for me,” I asked? Christian was short and very thin with a distorted looking face. A huge depression stood out in the side of his head, evidence of the blow he took from a club when he was a child. He looked down at the floor the whole time never seeking eye contact and barely speaking loud enough to be heard. “Matata, tell him I am Sister Angelina from the Kamenge convent and I am his friend,” I said. “Yes Sister,” he replied. Christian seemed to smile when learned I was a nun I noticed. “How are you feeling today,” I asked him? Matata translated for me. “Do you still keep Christ in your heart,” I asked? He replied, ”He prayed everyday to Jesus to take him away.” “Do you remember your friends Sisters Olga, Lucia and Bernadetta at the convent,” I asked. “ I do not remember anything,” he responded. “Why is that,” I asked? “Too many drugs, I cannot think or remember,” he said. “God will forgive you if you tell me did you hurt the Sisters, I pleaded” “No he said, bad men hurt them,” he said. “Who were these bad men Christian,” I asked. “Hutu,” he responded. He began to get very agitated and started banging his head on the table. “Matata call the attendant, I think Christian is not feeling well at this time.” “Yes Sister,” he responded. Minutes later the attendant came in and removed Christian. “Well, I did not learn a lot,” I told Matata. “It is obvious that he is not aware of reality and is in his own little world,” I said. “I was hoping we would learn something new and all we learned was that some Hutu men were responsible, not Christian,” I said. “Let’s go back to the convent, Matata,” I asked. “Yes, Sister,” was his response. “What do you think of Christian, Matata? You once knew him,” I asked. “He is not well sister I think,” Matata said. The drive back to the convent was short and I reported to Mother Superior what I had learned which was very little. 46
Chapter 9- The Boggian Vineyards
“Seniore Boggian your son Alfonse is here to see you,” said the butler Filippe. “Send him in Filippe, please, “ Seniore replied. “I am on the balcony having some wine,” Seniore Boggian called out. “Good morning father,” Alfonso said. “How was your trip to Monte Carlo, Alfonso,” Seniore Boggian inquired. “It was wonderful father,” Alfonso responded. “Francisca and I had a wonderful time at the casinos and the hotel,” he said. “How is the wine vintage this year,” Alfonso asked? “It is good my son,” said Seniore Boggian. “Father I need a million Euros to pay off the Casinos in Monte Carlo. I won a lot of money at first and then I lost it to the tune of almost a million Euros to several casinos in Monte Carlo. I had to borrow against our well known name in the wine industry father,” Alfonso said. “ I knew you had come for some reason Alfonso other than to tell me I make good wine, “ senior Boggian remarked. I cannot give you a million Euros Alfonso even if I wanted to,” remarked Seniore Boggian. Most of my cash reserved are invested to shipping our wines overseas and developing new varieties of wine that will sell well in Europe and the USA,“ Senior Boggian said. “What about all the money and estates you inherited after Aunt Bernadetta was killed last year? I know she gave you everything and me nothing,” Alfonso said. “Nothing changed, Sister Bernadetta and I have an agreement to keep the vineyards in the family for generations to come. You showed no interest in the wine industry and decided to go your own way,” Senior Boggian remarked. In fact, since your mother died you have done nothing but spend money, first you allowance, then your investments you 47
sold, then your stocks and now you have nothing, “ said Seniore Boggian. “You even went behind my back to my sister Bernadette in Burundi, Africa to try and convince her to change her will to no avail,” he said. “Oh you knew about my trip to Africa Father,” Alfonso asked? “Yes, you fooled no one my son,” Seniore Boggian remarked. “Now you are in debt over your head to the casinos in Monte Carlo my son,” Senior Boggian commented. “When is all the spending going to stop Alfonso,” he asked? “I have a good mind to take you out of the will after I die to protect the vineyards for generations to come,” Senior Boggian stated. “You wouldn’t do that to your own son, would you father,” he asked? “I can put the estates, vineyards and all the money in a trust account to keep the corporation operating until your son, if you ever have one, or some descendent of our Boggian family can take over the business,” Seniore Boggian threatened. “I am your only son father, would you cheat me out of my inheritance, asked Alfonso? “Yes, my son in a heartbeat, because I cannot trust you with money,” Seniore Boggian responded. “I will take you to court if I have to,” Alfonso challenged. “ So be it my son, but you will get nowhere,” Seniore Boggian exclaimed. “Everyone in this valley and all across Italy and Monte Carlo know you are a gambler addicted to spending money,” Senior Boggian shouted. “Do not raise your voice to me my son or I will throw you out on your ass,” Senior Boggian exclaimed. “You will live to regret this father,” Alfonso exclaimed as he stomped out of the room.
(Kamenge Convent, Sisters Of Mary, Bujumbura, Burundi, Africa) 48
Mother Superior I met with Christian at the hospital and he does not look well. All he could tell me is that two Hutu men gave him the keys and cell phone and that they murdered the nuns, not him. The hospital administrator, a member of the Brothers of Charity, told me that Christian changes his story on a daily basis. He said that we might never know what really happened, however, he felt after a year of observation that Christian was not a violent man and was not capable of extreme violence as in the case of our sisters at the convent. The police however, will not accept that as the facts since they caught Christian with evidence pointing to the fact that he was involved either as an accessory or a murder, “ I told Mother Superior. “We may never know the real reason for the massacre sister Angelina,” Mother Superior stated. “Thank you for your intervention, it has always plagued me in my sleep and daily thoughts as to what happened and how we might have prevented it, “ she said. “I was away that day you know, Kathryn, Louise Elaine and Margarette all accompanied me as we visited the outlying tribal villages,” she whispered. (Crying) “I should have protected them somehow, I blame myself, God forgive me,” she exclaimed. “Forgive me for this outburst sister,” Mother Superior explained.
A month later one of the Hutu woman that we helped came to Mother Superior and told her of three Hutu men in her tribal village that got drunk one night and bragged that they killed the sisters as revenge for sheltering and turning their runaway wives against them. They also said they fooled some guy into letting them into the convent since he knew where an emergency set of keys were hidden. Later the police blamed the killings on the poor guy that did not any better. When Mother Superior heard this story she got the names and turned them into the police. Their names were Tumbuka Nkruma, Simisola Oluwaseyi, Opeyemi Omobolanle, and Nwanneka 49
Nkiruka. That night the police went to the out country to the Hutu village to find these men only to find out that Tumbuka Kkruma was killed a month ago in a hit and run car accident. Simisola and Opeyemi fled the village when they heard the Police were looking for them and disappeared into the brush. Nwanneka Nkiruka sped away in his car and the Police gave chase in the darkness of the night. A water buffalo crossed the road on which N Nwanneka was speeding away from the police. He swerved to avoid the water buffalo and drove right into a tree straight on and was decapitated as he flew through the windshield from the impact. The police chasing after him found him on the ground after the crash.
The following morning a police escort drove into the convent courtyard. The Police chief Abimbola Karamira personally visited Mother Superior to tell her two of the potential killers were dead and accounted for, one was killed in a hit and run a month ago and the second tried to escape in his car and crashed into a tree in the middle of the night. Two have escaped so the Police Chief is providing two police to stand guard at the convent until the two Hutu men are captured. “We are looking for Simisola Oluwaseyi and Opeyemi Omobolanle in the bush country outside of the capital Bujumbura area and are hopeful they can track them down without a car to escape with, “ Police chief Karamira explained. “Thank you Chief Karamira, we are most grateful, and God Bless you and your men,” Mother Superior said. “I will leave two of my men as guards for you and the sisters and your staff until we capture these men Mother Superior,” the chief said. 50
Everyone in the convent was tense knowing two Hutu men were loose fleeing the police for a possible murder of nuns at the Kamenge Convent a year ago. Mother Superior has the sisters and staff all alerted and all the doors were locked all day and night. No one was to give out their keys to anyone to keep the buildings secure. At prayer in the chapel in the church in the morning, afternoon and evening we had to lock the door from the inside during services.
Two weeks later Police Chief Karamira came to the convent again to report to Mother Superior that the two men Simisola Oluwaseyi and Opeyemi Omobolanle had been captured hiding in bush country. They were taken into custody and return to the Police jail in Bujumbura. “We have questioned the suspects extensively Mother Superior,” he said. “We caught them with a total of 500 Euros each on them. They said a white man paid them to kill Sister Bernadetta Boggian, but when they entered the convent another nun, Sister Lucia Pulici was there so they were forced to kill her to cover up the fact that she witnessed them enter the convent with knives. After they killed both nuns, another nun accidently came into the convent church to pray, and they had to kill her to cover up their murders. They had planned to bury the knifes, but they ran into Christian while they were exiting the church, and gave him the keys of the convent to hold, and one of the nuns cell phones. Since Christian seemed dumb to them, he seemed like the perfect fall guy for the murders. All four of the men were paid $500 Euros each. Simisola and Opeyemi did not know what Tumbuka and Nwanneka did with their money. Tumbuka was the man who fled in a car and crashed it into a tree and no money was found on his body. Neanneka was killed a month earlier by a hit and run incident while he was walking along the side of the road at night. “So Mother Superior, Christian is innocent and will be freed from the mental hospital. We regret that we arrested the wrong man. I hope you will forgive us,” the police chief said. “We are 51
delighted that you finally solved the murders Chief Karamira,” said Mother Superior. “You have taken a burden off of my mind,” Mother Superior said. “What we don’t know Mother Superior is who the European white man was and why he wanted to kill an innocent nun,” Chief Karamira said. “In time I am sure the whole mystery will unravel,” Mother Superior exclaimed. “May God go with you Police Chief Karamira,” Mother Superior said, as she saw the Chief off.
Later that day Mother Superior and I met and she revealed to me all the terrible details of the men that were caught and the ones that were killed. Together we tried to figure out why a white man would want to kill sister Bernadette Boggian, but we could not come up with an answer. “I will talk with each of the sisters and see if anyone knows of a white man who had a grudge against Sister Bernadette,” Mother Superior said. “We are grateful for your support Sister Angelina and I hope you will continue working with us here at the convent,” Mother Superior stated. “We have ¾ of the whole story Mother Superior and perhaps my CIA superiors can investigate what we know further to find a solution,” I said? “That would be wonderful Sister Angelina, “ Mother Superior exclaimed. “May Jesus be with you this day sister, “ Mother Superior said. “? And you also Mother Superior,” I said.
The next day Swami came with the food supplies for the week and I slipped him a note telling the CIA what we learned about four Hutu men being hired to kill Sister Bernadette Boggian by a white man, perhaps European. I asked my superiors if they could try to track this white man that was around a week before Sister Bernadette was killed along with two of her sisters. I personally felt I was at a dead end because I did not have the means to investigate this case further. At least 52
Christian was soon to be released if his mental condition improved. He was an innocent man that was taken advantage of because he was a dumb person. We prayed for Christian in our prayers that evening and for the departed sisters who had been murdered a year ago. The mention of the nuns’ names brought many a tear to many of the nun’s eyes during Evening Prayer. It was a moment that I felt both joy and sadness for the nuns who only wanted to serve in the name of Jesus. I would have to be patient and see how God’s plan worked out in the end for these hard working and dedicated nuns.
Chapter 10- Fitting the Pieces Together
(Padua, Italy, summer of 2015)
“Excuse me seniore, do you know of a Seniore Alfonso Boggian, “ a stranger asked a local peddler? “Yes seniore, he lives in an apartment on the top of that hill over there about four blocks from here,” the peddler commented. “Thank you seniore,” the stranger said. The stranger got into a black limo, and drove off toward Alfonso’s apartment. The stranger was in fact a strong arm collections agent hired by the Monte Carlo casinos to collect the one million Euros Alfonso owed them. When he got to the apartment house he rang the bell to enter but no one was home. Francisca was out shopping at the time, and Alfonso was having his car repaired in downtown Padua. The stranger waited outside the apartment in his black limo for hours until Alfonso returned home. When Alfonso pulled up to park in front of his apartment , he noticed the new limo parked in front of his apartment. The windows of the limo were all darkened and he could not see who was inside, but the license plates were from Rome, and were not local plates. 53
Alfonso got out of his car and began to walk toward his apartment when the stranger got out of the car with a gun in his hand and said, “Seniore Alfonso, I have a message for you from all the casinos in Monte Carlo, pay up or die,” the stranger shouted. Just then the gun went off, and Alfonso ducked behind a car, and ran back to his car as the stranger chased him. He turned on his car, and put the car in reverse to get as far away from the stranger as he could. The car spun around as he cut the wheel sharply to the left, and he drove off as fast as he could as bullets hit his car in the trunk. Looking in his rearview mirror, Alfonso could see the stranger getting into his limo, and beginning to chase after him. Alfonso drove as fast as he could to his father’s estate where the outer gate was locked and would admit only family and friends. As Alfonso approached the gate he keyed in the security code, and the gate opened. He drove in and the gate automatically closed after him. When he got to his father’s mansion he ran into the house to talk with his father. “Father, father, the casinos from Monte Carlo have sent a hit man to get their money or shoot me,” Alfonso yelled out loud. Meahwhile, Seniore Sisto Boggian was relaxing by the pool when Alfonso came running onto the pool deck. “What is the matter, Alfonso,” he asked? I have a hit man on my tail from the casinos in Monte Carlo seeking money. I am broke father,” Alfonso cried out. “Calm down, calm down my son, this hit man cannot get past the locked gate with his car. I will ask Guiseppe to let out the dogs to roam the yard. “Here sit down, and have a drink, Alfonso,” his father said.
Meanwhile, the hit man realizing the gate to the estates was locked decided to sit, and wait until Alfonso came out from hiding. He called his superiors back in Monte Carlo to report that he had found Alfonso and that he was hiding on his father’s estate behind a locked gate. The hit man’s 54
superiors told him to bring back the money owed them approximately which was about one million Euros, or bring back Alfonso’s body. Alfonso had used the wine vineyards as collateral for some of his loans, but the Casinos had discovered somehow that he owned no interest in the vineyards at all. This oversight had cost one Casino supervisor his job, and now drastic action had to be taken by all the Casinos in Monte Carlo to recover the money Alfonso them.
“Father what am I going to do, Alfonso cried out loud? “You created this problem yourself, and now you come to me to bail you out,” his father exclaimed. “You are going to have to solve this problem by yourself,” Alfonso’s father stated. “Take the old Jeep and leave by the vineyard exit where the hit man cannot see you,” his father said. “Thank you father,” Alfonso exclaimed as he ran to get the old jeep and drove it away to safety. As he was driving away, Alfonso knew he could not go back to his apartment. He called his girlfriend on his cell phone. “Francisca, do not go back to the apartment, a hit man is waiting to kill us from the Monte Carlo casinos. Call me back,” he said. Alfonso drove off into the country to hide at a friend’s villa high in the mountains until the hit man stopped pursuing him.
The following week a CIA operative arrived in Padua to talk to Seniore Boggian about the murder of his older sister Bernadetta Boggian, and the recent revelations our od Burundi concerning the four Hutu men hired to kill her by a European white man who’s identity was unknown. The CIA operative’s job was two fold, to inform Senior Boggian as a favor, regarding his older sister, and to inquire if anyone had a grudge against his older sister that would want to have her murdered. Upon arriving in Padua the CIA operative by the name of Harold Sweeting 55
checked in at a hotel in downtown Padua. He had just flown from Washington, D.C., and was tired from jet lag. His plan was to rent a car and drive out to the Boggian’s vineyards on the outskirts of Padua. He had been informed by his superiors of the details involving the recent capture of the Hutu men in Bujumbura, Burundi. This mission had top priority because the Vatican Holy See wanted answers, as well as the CIA who worried about Hutu and Tutsi conflicts in Africa.
Francisca got Alfonso’s message on her cell phone, and called him back. She was afraid to go back to their apartment for fear of being shot, so she went to a girlfriend’s house to hide until Alfonso called her, and told her all was well. Alfonso was in fear for his life. His debts had finally forced his casino creditors, to whom he owed almost a million Euros, to take drastic steps to recover their money. His plan was to hide out at an abandoned Shepherd’s shack back in the hills of Padua. He had to figure out a way to pay back the casinos.
Back in Kamenge Convent things were normal. Only Mother Superior and Sister Angelina knew that some of the mystery of the murder of the three nuns had been solved. What still remained a mystery was who was the white European man who paid off the killers? Sister Angelina prayed for guidance and a solution to the murders. She knew the CIA had sent an agent to Italy to speak with Seniore Boggian to find out any additional clues regarding the case. Meanwhile, she would just have to be patient and wait to hear the results from her contact Swami. 56
The Casino henchman meanwhile was searching Padua for Alfonso, and waiting outside the Boggian vineyards to see if Alfonso entered or left the house. It was just a matter of time before he closed in on Alfonso. He would wait patiently until he sighted Alfonso. His employers want results, and not excuses, so he would sit, and wait until Alfonso made a mistake and showed himself.
The next day Jake Dremmen, the CIA agent rented a car and drove out to see Seniore Boggian. Upon arrival he noticed the black car parked outside the gate when he arrived. He said to himself, someone is staking out the house. I wonder who and what for? As Jake pulled up to the Iron Gate he pushed the intercom button and said, “ Mr. Dremmen for Seniore Boggian.” The person on the intercom answered, yes, come on in, the gate will open slowly. Jake drove up the long driveway to the two-story house with a circular driveway in front. As he got out of his car a butler met him at the door. “Good morning Sir, Senior Boggian is waiting for you on the breakfast patio, just this way,” the butler commented. The butler showed Jake to a beautiful stone patio surrounded by grape bushes and flowers over looking the pool. “Good morning Senior Boggian,” Jake said. Seniore Boggian replied with “Buongiorno Mr. Dremmen, how may I help you? Seniore Boggian said. “As you know I am here as an unofficial representative of the Vatican Holy See and an official CIA field agent sir,” Jake replied. “I have been sent here to update you as to the investigation we have launched in Burundi regarding the murder of your older sister Bernadetta Boggian. “Ah I see, sit down Mr. Dremmen, Coffee?” Senior Boggian replied. “Yes, coffee would be nice, thank you Seniore Boggian,” Jake commented. “Let me get down to business Seniore Boggian and tell you what we have done and what we have learned to 57
date,” Jake said. “As you know we placed a Nun working for the CIA as a field agent in the Kamenge Convent with the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary to secure an information about the murders from the inside,” Jake commented. After many months we were able to determine several Hutu men hired by a white man did the vicious murders. The police caught a simple man with limited mental ability from a childhood head injury with the keys to the convent and one of the nuns cell phone. They were eager to close the case and they charged the young man of 33 years of age and had him committed to a local mental hospital. The case went cold after that. Our field agent Sister Angelina discovered that four Hutu men who abused their wives had a hatred for the nuns for hiding their runaway wives. Their names were researched by the CIA and it was determine that one was killed in a freak hit and run accident a month before. Another man when approached by some of our CIA operatives fled in a car and ended up smashing into a tree in the middle of the night. The two remaining men in the same Hutu village fled into the bush and hid there for two weeks. With the help of the local police and the CIA we caught these two Hutu men hiding miles away in bush country. They were returned for questioning. We were able to get a confession out of them that a European white man came to the Kamenge Convent in Bujumbura the capitol of Burundi in August of 2014 and paid them $500 euros each to kill Sister Bernadette Boggian. The white man did not explain the reason for the planned killing they confessed, and a week later they made their move in the darkness of night. The four killers found Sister Bernadette and Sister Olga Raschietti in the Convent praying. They killed both of them with a knife and were getting ready to flea when a third nun entered the Convent chapel and saw them after they had killed the two nuns. She ran out and called someone, but before anyone could respond the killers followed the nun and killed her in the convent office. Leaving the three 58
nuns dead they began to run from the convent courtyard when they stumbled upon a simple man called Christian. They gave him the Convent keys they had taken and one of the nun’s cell phones and fled into the dark of night. Christian did not know why they had given him the keys in the middle of the night and the cell phone and because he was a simple man he went to sleep under a tree in the courtyard as he had always done before. The next morning the murders were discovered and the Police were called. The first person they found was Christian who had the convent Keys and a nun’s cell phone and he could not explain where he got them. He was arrested and charged and the police deemed the case closed,” Jake concluded.
“The two Hutu men are still in jail, and Christian may be released soon if his mental condition improves,” Jake said. “What we seek now is a clue to whom the white European man might be that visited Sister Bernadette a week before the murders,” Jake inquired. “From what the surviving nuns and Mother Superior told us is that Sister Bernadette seemed to know the white man who visited her. They were heard arguing in the convent when he spoke with Sister Bernadette,” Jake commented. “What we don’t know is who is this white man, and what was his purpose for visiting Sister Bernadette,” Jake asked. “You say a white man visited Sister Bernadette,” Seniore Boggian asked? “Yes, white and not from Burundi, is all we know,” Jake said. “Recently I had an argument with my son Alfonso Boggian regarding his money problems with the Casinos in Monte Carlo,” Senior Boggian said. “I am aware that Alfonso went behind my back and went to my sister Bernadette and asked her for money to help him pay back the Casinos in Monte Carlo. I believe that was in August sometime in 2014,” Seniore Boggian said. “Jesus Christ, I hope my son did not have anything to do with the murders of the three nuns in 59
Burundi,” Senior Boggian replied with fear in his voice. “Did your sister Bernadette have any money as a nun,” Jake asked? “No, but she was the oldest of all the children when our parents died she was left with the entire estate and vineyards by my parents,” Senior Boggian said. “Under a mutual arrangement when my sister Bernadette joined the Sisters of Mary Order, in Padua, she gave me all legal rights to run the vineyards, and keep the estate of my parents,” Senior Boggian said. “Well if Sister Boggian did not have any money how could your son get any money from her,” Jake asked. “He couldn’t without her changing her will,” Seniore Boggian said. “Oh, she had a will did she,” asked Jake? “What did the will provide for if I may ask,” Jake said? “All the estates and vineyards and any bank accounts would be given to me,” Senior Boggian said. “That still doesn’t give your son any money, however,” Jake commented. “This is true, but that never stopped Alfonso before since he was desperate to pay the casinos in Monte Carlo back or they might send someone to collect one way or another,” Senior Boggian commented. “So if Alfonso flew all the way to Burundi, met with his Aunt Bernadette, argued and flew back to Italy, what does they say,” Jake inquired? “I do not know Mr. Dremmen,” Seniore Boggian responded. “That is strange, then the murder of Sister Bernadette would not benefit your son Alfonso in any way, unless of course you were also murdered. Who inherits the vineyards and estate,” Jake summarized? “Alfonso would inherit all of the Boggian vineyards, the estate and the bank accounts when I die,” Senior Boggian declared. “That means if Alfonso was really desperate, then you could be in danger Senior Boggian,” Jake said. “I cannot believe my son Alfonso would have his Aunt Killed and his father also just to get money to pay back the Monte Carlo Casinos,” Senior Boggian exclaimed. “I know we do not see eye to eye, and he is lazy, but a murder, Jesus, I do not believe it,” Senior Boggian said. “The facts seem to indicate 60
Senior Boggian that you could be in danger if your son is desperate for money to pay back his bills to the casinos,” Jake commented. “How much does he owe the casinos Senior Boggian,” Jake asked. “ I think he said somewhere around a million euros to several Monte Carlo casinos,” Seniore Boggian declared. “Wow that is a lot of money, one million euros, that might be incentive enough to kill both you and your sister to inherit the Boggian vineyards and estates,” Jake exclaimed.
“What do you recommend Mr. Dremmen,” Senior Boggian asked? “I don’t know, I will have to contact my superiors first.” Let me ask you, did you notice a black executive car parked outside your main gate this morning as I drove in,” Jake asked. “Yes, Mr. Dremmen, the black car showed up on the closed circuit video. Who is in the car,” Senior Boggian asked? “I am not sure but he must be someone casing the place or looking for your son Alfonso,” Jake said. “Does your son Alfonso have a cell phone Seniore Boggian,” Jake asked. “Yes, he has a cell phone. Do you want the cell phone number,” Seniore Boggian asked? “Yes, we need to find out where he is and whether he is in hiding from the casino recovery agents or not,” Jake said. “Where does Alfonso live Seniore Boggian,” Jake asked. “He lives in an apartment in downtown Padua,” Senior Boggian replied. “Ok, let me get back to my superiors and see what they want to do regarding this situation,” Jake said. “Your son Alfonso seems to be our number one suspect Senior Boggian, but I am afraid he is on the run if the casino collection agents are chasing him for their money,” Jake said. “I have to get back to Padua and call my superiors in our CIA office in Rome and see how they want to handle this situation,” Jake said. “Meanwhile, I want you to be very careful Senior Boggian. Do not go out in your car alone and stay away from Padua for now until 61
we get a handle on this situation,” Jake commented. “I will call you later today or tomorrow as soon as I hear from my superiors in Rome, “ Jake stated. “Thank you Mr. Dremmen and I hope we can find Alfonso before anything serious develops,” Seniore Boggian commented.
Jake was off to Padua to make a call to the CIA office at the USA Embassy in Rome. All arrows seem to point to Seniore Boggian’s son Alfonso having motive, and desire to get money at any means necessary, Jake thought to himself. When he got back to his room in Padua he called Rome on a secure line he had in his room. “Hello Mr. Sauer, this is Field Agent Jake Dremmen in Padua, Italy calling on a secure line,” Jake said. “Yes, I hear you Jake,” Mr. Sauer responded. “How is the investigation going in Padua,” Mr. Sauer asked? “I think the son of Seniore Boggian might be involved. He owes the Monte Carlo Casinos around one million Euros, and was seen visiting his Aunt Sister Bernadette Boggian in Burundi a week before the killings in early September 2014,” Jake reported. “All right where is this son of Seniore Boggian now,” Mr. Sauer asked? “His name is Alfonso Boggian, and he is in hiding because a Casino enforcer has arrived in Padua, and is tracking him down for the money he owes the casinos,” Jake commented. “Well put all of our resources on this, I want this guy Alfonso brought in for questioning immediately. Is that understood? Mr. Sauer commanded.” “OK, I am already looking for him but the enforcer is trailing me also hoping I will lead him to Alfonso,” Jake said. “Get rid of him right away,” Mr. Sauer said.
After a week had gone by the enforcer from the Monte Carlo casinos began to think about giving up searching for Alfonso Boggian. He called his superiors and reported that Alfonso had 62
disappeared, and probably fled Padua. His superiors were so upset that they told him that if he did not find Alfonso, he was fired. They told him to check the airlines, buses and train stations for Alfonso’s name, and not to come back until he found Alfonso.
Chapter 11- Escape to Switzerland
Meanwhile, the CIA has the same thought. If Alfonso was fleeing, he had to take a car, train, plane or bus to flee Padua. They set out in the Rome CIA office to electronically track Alfonso, to see if he used his name with a credit card to book a plane, train, or bus. If he took his own car then the only evidence might be if he used a credit card to buy gas outside of Padua. Agent Jake Dremmen researched the local train station, and the bus station. He got a hit on Alfonso buying a train ticket to Switzerland a few days before. Jake called the main CIA office in Rome in the USA Embassy to inform them he had evidence that Alfonso bought two tickets to Switzerland, which means he took his girlfriend with him. Immediately the CIA office in Rome began tracking Alfonso to determine where in Switzerland he was headed. A week later a credit card was used in Alfonso Boggian’s name at the Benedictine Monastery St. Johnann in Mustair. Mustair was located near the border of Switzerland.
Agent Dremmen was dispatched immediately to the Benedictine Monastery of St. Johnann in Mustair, Switzerland to track Alfonso Boggian down. A government jet was provided to allow agent Dremmen quick access to the Benedictine Monastery in Switzerland. By the time agent 63
Dremmen got to the Monastery, Alfonso had already checked out. The trail had come to a dead end for the time being. Jake checked into the Benedictine Monastery for the night, hoping to hear something in the morning from the CIA office in Rome. The trail had gone cold for a while. Jake tried to figure where in a days travel Alfonso could have traveled, especially if he did not have unlimited cash funds. One oversight Jake had made was in not finding out the name of Alfonso’s girlfriend before he left Padua. It was possible that Alfonso was using his girlfriend’s credit cards to avoid detection electronically?
The following morning after a hearty breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and coffee, Jake made a cell phone call to the CIA office in Rome. They had no further information on Alfonso at that time. Jake’s supervisor suggested checking the local train station again by showing a photo of Alfonso to the ticket agents. That was all they had to go on at that time. Jake was a little upset that he had come so far only to have Alfonso slip away. 64
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