Two American nuns said to be loved by everyone for their kindness and concern for the needy have been killed in Mississippi.
According to Fides, Sisters Paula Merrill, of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN), and Sister Margaret Held, of the School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), were killed with knives in their home in Durant, in Mississippi. More than 40 percent of the population in this area lives below the poverty line.
From the first investigations, it is believed that they were killed by a robber, who then fled with their car which was found abandoned nearby. Police have arrested a person.
The two nuns, both 68, were serving as nurses at the Lexington Medical Clinic, health center that assists, free of charge, families who cannot afford medical care.
On Aug. 25, not seeing them arrive punctually, as they always had done, colleagues alerted the police, who found signs of forced entry in their home and found their bodies.
This weekend, various celebrations were held for the repose of the two late sisters. Several sources confirm that they were loved and well-liked by everyone for their kindness, their availability in particular towards those in need.
The President of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sister Susan Gatz, asked that all people pray in gratitude for the “precious lives” of both sisters, who”served the poor so well.”
“Because we are gospel women, please also pray for the perpetrators,” she said.
Moreover, the two congregations released a joint statement asking, that “we move forward together at this time in a prayerful and healing manner, focusing on the lives of Sisters Paula Merrill and Margaret Held, two compassionate, faith-filled women.”
“We want to reiterate our beliefs as women of faith, that we value life,” it continued. “For years now, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the School Sisters of St. Francis have worked to abolish the death penalty, even as we seek justice and truth.”