By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
UPPER DARBY – No arrests have been made in the Feb. 2 mugging and robbery of an elderly nun outside her convent near St. Alice Church, Upper Darby, as The Catholic Standard & Times went to press.
At about 3 p.m. on that day, Sister Margaret, 82, a Dominican Sister of St. Catherine de Ricci, was returning from a visit to her sister, who lives nearby. As she was entering the church parking lot she was struck on the head from behind and knocked to the ground. After a brief struggle, the thief or thieves grabbed her purse, which she was carrying in a shopping bag, and then ran away.
The purse contained identification items and credit cards.
Because of the suddenness of the assault, Sister Margaret was uncertain if there was one or two attackers, but the person who took the purse appeared to be short.
After the attacker or attackers ran, Sister Margaret, who was bleeding from lacerations near her right eye which were probably incurred by the fall, was unable to rise. An unidentified boy passing by came to her assistance, but he was too small to lift her up himself. She asked him to ring the bell of the convent, which also houses the administrative offices of her congregation.
He did so, and Lee Busby, the finance director for the congregation, rushed to the scene and carried her into the convent. 911 was called and Sister Margaret was rushed to Delaware County Memorial Hospital where she received five stitches for her cuts. Further examination showed she suffered a fracture in her pelvis, but surgery was not deemed necessary, and she was released from the hospital that same night.
“Sister was very upset, and this was hard on her,” said Sister Carolyn Krebs, president of the St. Catherine Dominicans. “She is in good health and fortunately the injuries were not as serious as they could have been. She is in good spirits.”
One of Sister Margaret’s more recent active assignments was director of the Lucy Eaton Smith Residence, near Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, which was named for the foundress of her congregation. A residence for single women, it is now run by Project H.O.M.E. as Kate’s Place. She was also a staff member of the former Dominican Retreat House in Elkins Park.
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.