Three men broke into a Catholic convent in Mar del Plata, Argentina, beat, bound, and gagged the five nuns living there, and proceeded to pillage the house—just a week before the sisters’ founder, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, is scheduled to be canonized.
The religious sisters belong to the congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, the sari-clad nuns devoted to serving the poorest of the poor throughout the world. Pope Francis will publicly canonize Mother Teresa this coming Sunday in the Vatican, declaring her to be a saint.
According to local reports, three unidentified men broke into the convent at around 7:30 p.m. last Thursday evening. After beating the sisters and leaving them gagged and incapacitated, the delinquents plundered the house looking for valuables, but in the end found that the sisters had only 50 Argentinian pesos on hand, worth about $3.30 in U.S. currency.
The thugs also ransacked the sisters’ chapel looking for precious objects, but when they found that the sacred vessel (ciborium) holding the Eucharistic bread was not made of gold, they left it there after strewing the consecrated hosts about.
The Missionaries have been working in Mar del Plata for 20 years, where they run a center that offers free care and housing for terminally ill HIV/AIDS victims.
The sisters also serve the material and spiritual needs of the impoverished district where their convent is located.
Despite the violence suffered, the nuns are reportedly in good spirits because of the imminent canonization of their foundress.
Born in Skopje, Macedonia in 1910, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu entered the Loreto Convent in Dublin, Ireland in 1928, taking the name of Teresa, after her patroness, St. Therese of Lisieux.
Years later, while working in Calcutta, India, Teresa received what she described as a “call within a call,” to found a new order devoted to serving the poorest of the poor. The order became the Missionaries of Charity, which was officially founded in 1950.
Though loved and revered by many, Mother Teresa has been a hugely controversial figure, especially because of her blunt language and staunch opposition to abortion—which she never missed an opportunity to announce.
Invited to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, Mother Teresa told the 3,000 guests that abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world, calling it “murder by the mother herself.”
“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” she said.
Present at the breakfast were pro-abortion President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, as well as Al and Tipper Gore. When the crowd rose to give a 5-minute standing ovation to the diminutive nun, the Clintons and Gores stayed seated in stony silence, without clapping.
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