The Poverelle buried Sister Dinarosa Belleri last week on a hot morning in the plague city of Kikwit. The pallbearers wore green gowns, heavy boots, plastic goggles and white helmets as they pushed a rickety stretcher over the potholes on the road from the main hospital to the Cathedral of St. Francois Xavier. She was the fourth sister to die of the fever, and by this time the nuns had learned to take no chances.

When the cortege reached the graveyard, the women and children who had gathered to watch the gravediggers screamed and scattered, covering their mouths with brightly colored...

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