Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - The South African police have arrested two men suspected of killing an 82-year-old U.S. religious, Sister Mary Paule Tacke, of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood (CPS), also known as the Missionaries of Mariannhill, during an attempted street robbery and investigations are still underway.
According to information gathered by Fides Agency, Sister Mary’s car was stopped by bandits on Sunday, June 15 near Mthatha while the nun was on her way to visit one of the orphanages she founded. The car, with the bandits on board, was subsequently chased by the police. The chase ended when the car, driven by the bandits, overturned near Qokolweni. The criminals managed to escape. A gun was found in the car but there was no trace of the nun. After days of searching, Sister Mary’s body was found on June 20 in a stream near the village of Tyara, 60 km from Mthatha. The body did not show signs of blows inflicted by firearms. Police believe that the nun was strangled. There was a purse with money, driver's license and house keys in her pocket.
Sister Mary was originally from Cottonwood, Idaho, and had been working in South Africa since the 50s. She had founded the Bethany Place of Safety (an orphanage for abandoned children) in 1955 after some policemen had entrusted her some orphans. Later she founded another orphanage, the Thembelihle Home, for older children, many of whom are HIV positive. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/06/2014)