The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has condemned the murder of an elderly nun who was found bound in her room at a convent in Ixopo, South Africa.
Sister Stephanie Tiefenbacher, 86, a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood and an Austrian national, was discovered by another Sister early on April 19. Her hands were bound with a cord from an electric typewriter and her face was covered with a wet towel, police said.
“She was alone in her room when the robber struck, tied her up and robbed her of cash,” said a statement released by Fr S’milo Mngadi, communications officer for the bishops’ conference.
The conference called the death of the nun who worked with poor children in the community shocking.
“The churches and, especially, the convents have always been centres of hope for our communities as they minister through education, health, charity and other social services,” the statement said. “For a person just to break into a convent is despicable to say the least and violating the dignity of an elderly nun is evil and barbaric.”
The bishops called on police to act quickly to apprehend suspects in the case and urged residents in the small town in the eastern part of the country to share information to help solve the case.
“We pray for the Precious Blood sisters, her family back in Austria and the community of Ixopo, including the Little Flower School which she served for over 60 years,” the Church leaders said.