NAZARETH, Ky. (WDRB) – One of two nuns found slain in their home in Mississippi had ties to Kentucky.

Sister Paula Merrill was from Massachusetts but spent several years in the Bluegrass State for training to take her vows with The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Nazareth, Ky.

Sister Merrill had been with the congregation for more than 30 years. While she spent most of her life in Mississippi, she was back in Nazareth just last weekend.

“She only left on Monday and now, only three days later, she's gone,” Sister Susan Gatz said.

Sister Gatz, President of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, joined the congregation with Sister Merrill in 1965.

“Having her here those days was just a real gift for us, to have those moments, to have that time to catch up with her,” she said.

Sister Merrill worked as a nurse practitioner with Sister Margaret Held, who was a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee, Wisc. They lived in Durant, Miss., one of the state's poorest areas. Together they provided medical care to those who couldn't afford it.

Sister Merrill’s efforts are documented in a video posted just 10 months ago by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

“We just see patients and do what needs to be done,” Sister Merrill said in the video.

When the two women didn't show up to work on Thursday, police we called. A reverend in the area says they were found stabbed.

“These two women, who were so peaceful, so peace-filled, so peace-giving, died in a violent way,” Sister Gatz said.

But she isn't letting that stop her from praying for whoever is responsible for this heinous crime.

“If we're going to live the Gospel, it says love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you,” she said.

Sister Gatz says she and all the sisters are finding comfort in knowing Sister Merrill is with God and that she lived a joyful life serving others.

“They challenge me, they inspire me. We make a difference in people's lives, and we never know what that difference is,” Sister Merrill said in the video from last year.  

Sister Merrill was 68 years old. She would have spent her retirement at the Motherhouse in Kentucky.

Once the bodies of Sister Merrill and Sister Held are released from the medical examiner, a joint memorial service will be held in Jackson, Miss.

Sister Merrill will have a funeral and be buried at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth cemetery.

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