|Roy de Maistre, 1957|
Living the beatitudes as given to us by Christ Himself, two selfless religious were brutally killed yesterday in the poorest state in our country. A senseless killing, has given us two women who gave their life to Christ, and now can rejoice with Him in His Kingdom. As long as you do it for one of these you do it for Me....
Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68 and nurse practitioners, were found dead Thursday morning in their home in Durant , Mississippi after they did not show up for work at the Lexington Medical Clinic, where they cared for people who couldn't afford medical care.
Sister Margaret was a member of the School Sisters of St Francis in
and Sister Paula a Sister of Charity in . Sister
Margaret had been with the order for 49 years and devoted herself to “living
her ministry caring for and healing the poor.” Nazareth, Kentucky
"These were the two sweetest sisters you could imagine. It's so senseless," Rev. Greg Plata, who oversees the small church the nuns attended, said.
Sister Paula moved to
Mississippi from Massachusetts
in 1981 and believed her calling was to stay in the Deep
South, according to a 2010 article in The Journey, a publication of the Sisters of Charity of
The two sisters had been sent by their orders to serve the poor throughout
Paula had spent 30 years in the state, the last six at the clinic, which saw
8,000 patients last year. The sisters were active in the church’s Bible study
and were deeply connected to the congregation of about 30 parishioners. Mississippi
“People were attracted to them because of their goodness,” said Father Plata, who will be among the clergy members to say their funeral
A cause of death has not been released, but Father Plata said police told him the sisters were viciously stabbed. The assistant police chief said the murders of the sisters were "the worst thing that can happen to us since (Hurricane) Katrina."
"My heart is broken for the two families and friends of these treasured souls," said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. "We will not rest until we find the murderer and bring them to justice."