Friends gather to remember nuns after suspect confesses to killing them

Friends and colleagues who knew two murdered nuns are gathering on Sunday to remember them. They will hold a wake for Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill at the St. Thomas Church in Lexington, Mississippi, where the women led Bible study. That will be followed by a mass on Monday in Jackson. The services are being held hours after 46-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders confessed to stabbing them to death in their home. Police have not given any details on why they think Sanders, who was on probation at the time, killed the women nor whether he knew them although they believe he acted alone.

She doesn’t deserve to die like this, doing God’s work

Joe Morgan, a patient of Sister Merrill’s

The bodies of the nuns were discovered on Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a health clinic, where they were worked as nurse practitioners. Their work involved dispensing flu shots, insulin and other medical care for those who could not afford it in the poorest county in the poorest US state. Their deaths have left a gaping hole in the community, where many are questioning why anyone would want to murder them. Jonell Payton, who lives across the street and a few doors down from the murder scene, said the nuns were “the most precious two people”.

Forgiveness is at the heart of being a Christian. Look at Jesus on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’”

The Rev. Greg Plata, of St Thomas Catholic Church, where the women led Bible study for years