SPANISH MISSIONARIES

Spanish nun shot dead during robbery in Haiti

Isabel Solá Matas, a nurse, had set up artificial limb workshop in the country

The body of Isabel Sola Matas is taken away.
The body of Isabel Sola Matas is taken away.Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

A Spanish nun who had worked with Haiti’s poor since 2010 was shot and killed in a robbery on Friday in the center of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Isabel Solá Matas, aged 51, was driving through heavy traffic when two men opened fire on her SUV, and then stole her bag and other belongings. A passenger, a Haitian woman, was also shot twice and was rushed to the hospital for critical care.

The missionary, who lived in one of the poorest areas of the Haitian capital, moved there following the 2010 earthquake that left an estimated 160,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands more homeless and injured.

Solá Matas, a nurse and member of the Jesús María order, set up a workshop called Project Haiti in Port-au-Prince to manufacture artificial limbs

Solá Matas, a nurse and member of the Jesús María order, set up a workshop called Project Haiti in Port-au-Prince to manufacture artificial limbs, according to Catalan newspaper El Periódico. “She ran the workshop, which is managed by Haitians, and she was setting up a school, and was very excited about it,” said family members.

In a statement, Anastasio Gil García, the director the Spanish division of Pontifical Missionary Works, expressed his sorrow on behalf of the 13,000 Spanish missionaries working around the world, highlighting in particular the work done by the 20 Spanish missionaries in Haiti. His statement included extracts from a letter by Solá Matas written shortly after she arrived in 2010 describing what she called “the strength of the Haitian people,” and “thanking the help and solidarity shown by Spain.”

English version by Nick Lyne.

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