Prayer 'for the persons responsible' for nun's death

March 23, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Led by a youth carrying a large wooden crucifix, more than 200 people walked last night to the Northeast Baltimore convent where Sister MaryAnn Glinka was murdered and prayed for the world's sinners and unfortunates.

"We pray for the persons responsible for this crime. We pray for those trapped in violence, and we pray for those trapped in addictions," the Rev. Sam Lupico said through a bullhorn, as he stood in front of the fortress-like convent on Ellerslie Avenue.

Looking up at the Franciscan sisters standing on the steps, Father Lupico, of Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, told them, "Our eyes have seen something the evil forces of this world don't know: hope and vision."

The Prayer of St. Francis was read in Sister MaryAnn's honor. The sisters of the convent were led by Sister Rita Mary, who told the crowd, "People of Baltimore, we are a simple folk. We are women of faith. . . . If MaryAnn were here, she would be down there with you, and she would raise her candle higher than anyone."

Sister Rita Mary tearfully urged the crowd to pray for the sisters in the convent and "also pray for Melvin," referring to Melvin Lorenzo Jones, the man charged with killing Sister MaryAnn.

The crowd gathered at dusk on the parking lot of Memorial Stadium and, in rows of two, slowly walked six blocks to the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore Motherhouse Community. It was there that Sister MaryAnn was murdered Friday morning after she was attacked and sexually assaulted by a burglar.

Religious leaders organized the vigil, which preceded last night's wake for Sister MaryAnn, not only to mourn her but to draw attention to the violence that is wounding this city.

"This crime is the ultimate outrage," said Sister Patricia Rogucki, a 19-year resident of Baltimore and a member of the order of Sisters for Christian Community. "It's an outrage to the religious community, the poor, and to the residents of Baltimore."

Sister Patricia likened the epidemic of violence in Baltimore to the oppression she witnessed during her five trips to El Salvador, where she worked with refugees.

She said that in that country, people with vision and courage try to reshape the troubled parts of their culture, "and we have to do the same in Baltimore. We can't be afraid."

A friend of Sister MaryAnn's, Sister Patricia described her as someone "who lived simply and profoundly."

Recently, Sister MaryAnn had mentioned that she was aware of crime in Baltimore, but she had not let it stop her from taking an occasional walk alone on Ellerslie Avenue, Sister Patricia said.

"She refused to be imprisoned by fear," Sister Patricia said.

As the crowd walked up Ellerslie Avenue yesterday, dozens sang the hymn, "Peace is flowing like a river." As the first few candle-bearing mourners walked through the gates of the convent, nuns looked out of the windows, several of them weeping.

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