The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Missouri nuns have a history of being targeted for shootings, harassment

By Christine Rousselle for CNA

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Washington D.C., Apr 6, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- A recent series of shootings at a Benedictine abbey in Missouri is only the latest manifestation of ongoing violence and harassment against the nuns there, the mother abbess says.

Last week, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Gower, Missouri, reported that they were seeking to upgrade the security of their abbey following three shootings on the property since February. The nuns are looking to raise $200,000 for an eight-foot wall around the property.

On March 24 two bullets had been fired into the bedroom of the mother abbess.

“On March 24th, just after 11:00 pm, loud gunshots were heard by many Sisters in the Abbey. Some of the Sisters arose, but soon returned to sleep, as we have sadly become desensitized on account of the many incidents of inappropriate activity around our monastery,” stated a message from the community after the shooting.

“In the morning, Mother Abbess discovered two bullet holes in her bedroom. A bullet had entered through the exterior wall, punched a hole beneath the Sacred Heart picture, and continued to penetrate through the wall directly opposite, being stopped by shower wall on its other side. Mother Abbess was sleeping several feet from the bullet’s trajectory,” the nuns said.

Yet Mother Abbess Cecilia, OSB, told CNA that the shooting was only the latest “offensive behavior” toward the nuns in the decade they have resided at the abbey. The nearby town of Gower has a population of just over 1,500; the abbey itself is located outside the town near the intersection of two roads.

“In August of 2019, someone drove right on to our property and fired shots for about 45 minutes, even shooting directly toward two sisters,” she told CNA in an email. “They couldn’t see the shooter, but heard bullets whiz past them.”

Mother Cecilia told CNA that even before the nuns arrived in Gower, they were subjected to harassment and violence from the community.

“Even before we moved here, we put in place a shrine with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes on the property. We discovered she had been shot in the waist on one of the visits to our property,” she said.

Since the sisters moved in, Mother Cecilia said that cars have stopped to watch the nuns while they work, and that people have been “shouting obscenities and honking their horns as they drive by, shining headlights into our windows at night.”

That harassment escalated into a shooting on the property in 2019, with three more shootings this Lent.

“On Ash Wednesday, at about 10:15 pm, a few sisters heard other shots fired toward our building. And a couple of days after that, a single shot was directed toward the church,” she said.  “We did not discover the bullet in the door trim, nor the hole in the stone until many days later.”

Despite having two bullet holes pierce her bedroom wall on March 24, Mother Cecilia told CNA she’s doing “very well” and that there is “no doubt in my mind that St. Michael and our guardian angels are watching over and protecting us at all times.”

“I think we might find out on the other side of the veil, how many bullets have been deflected by them, considering the number of shots we could hear being fired,” she said. “I, and all the Sisters, are peaceful and full of confidence in the loving care of Our Heavenly Father.”

In response, the nuns are seeking to raise funds for an eight-foot wall near the road, as well as for the installation of security cameras.

“It is unsettling to have cars driving slowly by, sometimes stopping to watch while the Sisters work,” Mother Cecilia said. “This wall will be both for our security and much needed privacy.”

Police are currently investigating the shootings. For those wishing to designate donations for the wall fund, the nuns have directed them to their website.

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  1. Three reasons why these sisters are under attack: they have always had a young and diverse congregation, they strictly follow the Benedictine rule and wear the habit AND they offer only the Traditional Latin Mass. They are booming with vocations and the devil and his minions hate it. Souls are saved through their prayers and work. The only acceptable prejudice and hate now is to hate and sideline those who hold on to the Traditional Catholic Faith, the only true Faith. These sisters live tradition and lucifer will do anything to quash it. Let us pray for them and donate to them!

  2. As reprehensible as this recurring threat is to the sisters, one cannot discern from the article what if any response by the local sheriff’s department, state police of federal law enforcement is being taken as obviously, even from the secular perspective. In their hearts, they cannot deny that these are hate crimes. The construction of the wall is IMHO an act of desperation that may simply provide an incentive to escalate.

    We should also be attentive to the current politicalization of hate crimes in that Communism openly maintains that a crime is justified if it is committed from patriotic motives, the good of the party. This reality of communist ideology goes a long way to our understanding the current behaviors of the secular authorities, the response of law enforcement and the judiciary.

    • Yes, what has been the response of law enforcement? If this person was firing a gun for 45 minutes, surely this is enough time for the police to get there!

  3. Time to shake the dust from your feet, dear Sisters. There are other small communities that would be happy to have you.

  4. I wonder who would profit with the good Sisters left? How much money is that land worth? Talk to the local realtor to begin with? If this religious order dissolved who would profit? Who owns the land? Often people attempt to use religious reasons as a cover the greed or profit.

  5. “I, and all the Sisters, are peaceful and full of confidence in the loving care of Our Heavenly Father.”
    What a delightful contrast vis-a-vis so many of our clerical leaders when faced with microscopic caliber “bullets” called a virus who shuttered the doors of our churches.

  6. Ive noticed a reluctance on the part of our priests and bishops to acknowledge the anicatholicism in the protestant ranks.

    2 years ago a 7th Day Adventist placed an 8 page diatribe on all the car windshields of our parish one sunday calling the church, pope and bishops the ‘antichrist.’ In it he slams much of what the church teaches in a vile, offensive manner.

    I urged my pastor to contact the police and the local 7th Day pastor and he refused.
    I then took ot upon myself to contact the protestant pastor informing him what his flock was doing. He then contacted my pastor who seemed upset with me. ???
    Thats the problem. Most bishops and priests get all upset if u mention the bogotry and anticatholic behavior of some protestants. For some reason it appears they think its unchristian to point it out. I dont understand them.

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