Friends, family say goodbye to slain nun with Ky. roots
Sister Merrill and Sister Margaret Held were found stabbed to death in the home they shared in Mississippi. Both worked as nurse practitioners in some of the poorest areas of the state for decades.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sisters and clergy from around the world packed a Catholic church near Bardstown, Kentucky Friday for the funeral of a nun stabbed to death.
Loved ones honored Sister Paula Merrill with songs, scriptures and prayers -- all reflecting the life of service the 68-year-old nun lived.
A video provided by Sisters of Charity of Nazareth shows Merrill explaining some of her life's work.
"We just see patients and do what needs to be done," Merrill says in the video.
For the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Merrill's passing marks a true test of faith.
"I think in many ways we're still in shock," said Sister Julie Driscoll. "We have hoped and prayer for non-violence in the country, and I think we're experiencing what other families of victims of violence experience."
Merrill was found stabbed to death in her Durant, Mississippi, home on Aug. 25, along with Sister Margaret Held.
Kentucky is her roots, though Merrill lived in Mississippi for the last 30 years, serving as a nurse practitioner, treating the chronically ill who could not afford care in one of the poorest counties in the United States.
"They know you're genuine, and I know when I have connected with them," Merrill says in archive video provided by Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
"We have months to deal with the dark side of it -- the criminal side, and that story -- and I'm sure that story will eventually take over this story," said David Merrill, Sister Paula Merrill's nephew. "But if there is any good to come out of this tragedy, it's that two humble lives in a very small place that we all ignore can be shown and demonstrated to all these people so that we can inspire other people."
Police say Rodney Earl Sanders confessed to killing both nuns, yet offered no motive.
Emotions ran high in the church as one of Merrill's longtime friends spoke of mercy.
"I believe she would look at the one who caused all of that harm, and see in that face the suffering Christ as well," said Sister Adeline Fehribach. "With Jesus, Paula would say, 'God, forgive him, for he knows not what he does.'"
Merrill was immediately laid to rest at a cemetery on the SCN campus.
"It's been a terrible week," said David Merrill.
Sister Margaret Held was also laid to rest today in her home state of Wisconsin.
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