Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill were both stabbed to death on Aug. 25 The two nurse practitioners ran a clinic in Durant, Mississippi.
Sister Paula Merrill was a member of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, based in Nelson County. Only two weeks ago, Merrill was in Kentucky visiting her sisters. Now, she is home forever.
Dozens lined the walkway to St. Vincent Church to welcome their Sister Paula as she came home to Nazareth. It marks the end of a painful week.
“I’ve lost the best friend that I ever had in the world,” said Connie Rotters Blake.
“The past week I’ve had so many moments where I’ve had to pause. Let out a deep sigh, because my heart breaks a little bit,” said David Merrill, Sister Paula’s nephew.
Sister Paula grew up in Boston, and was the youngest of three. 50 years ago, she joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth She did leave the congregation for a few years to discern her decision, and her best friend prayed she would return.
“I was so relieved because I thought, what a perfect way for her to live the life that she wanted, which was in service to the poor,” said Blake.
Sister Paula entered the congregation in Nazareth. It’s where she took her vows, and made lifelong friends. It’s only fitting for her family that she’s laid to rest in Kentucky.
“We’re together in life, and we’re together in death,” said Sister Susan Gatz, the president of the congregation.
“This is where she wanted to be. We don’t choose where we are born, but we do get to choose, sort of, where we live our lives and how we live our lives, and that’s definitely what Paula did,” said Merrill.
Merrill will be laid to rest on the grounds of the church where she took her vows.
Rodney Earl Sanders is charged with capital murder in the deaths of Sister Paula and Sister Margaret Held. Investigators say he asked to mow their grass just a few days before their deaths.
Bertha R. Massie