Convent Site of Possible Arson, Police Investigating Fire as a Hate Crime

Gods love

Police are treating a recent fire at the Daughters of Divine Charity community on Staten Island as a hate crime. One of the sisters is in intensive care, due to injuries as a result of this fire. 

The Daughters of Divine Charity web site describes the sisters’ work:

“We the Daughters of Divine Charity of Holy Family Province, make God’s love visible in the world by reaching out to those in need, especially to women, youth and the elderly.”

If you would like to help the sisters, you can find an address by following the links above. 

In addition to the story about the Staten Island fire, I’ve included a few other examples of vandalism directed at churches. This is a sample of the church vandalisms I found with a quick Google search.  I searched for attacks in the last week. It’s not meant to be exhaustive. 

.- A convent and chapel in New York City were the site this weekend of a suspicious fire, in which two nuns and four firefighters were injured.

Sister M. William McGovern, provincial superior of the Daughters of Divine Charity community on Staten Island, explained in an Oct. 12 press release that the fires were “a true tragedy.”
        
“The historic portion of our home – with our chapel, sacristy, archives and provincial offices was destroyed – and is now a crime scene.”

Early in the morning of Oct. 12, firefighters responded to fires at St. Joseph Hill Convent and Chapel. According to multiple local news sources, Sister Regina Gegic and another older sister were staying  in the building when the fire started, the former jumping from the second floor of the building to escape the flames.

Sister McGovern explained that Sister Gegic “is in intensive care at Staten Island University Hospital,” with injuries sustained from the fall. The other sister in the building at the time of the fire was not reported to have been harmed.

Other sisters in the order, including several visiting the United States for the 100th anniversary of the Daughters of Divine Charity’s presence in the United States, were staying in another building at the time, and were not harmed.

The fire is being investigated by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

Jackson TN Eyewitness News 7:

JACKSON, Tenn. — For the third time in a few weeks, a church has been broken into and vandalized. 

Investigators say that on or around September 29, 2013, shortly after 10:30 a.m., deputies responded to a report of vandalism at Lebanon Methodist Church, located at 643 Tige Hopper Road, Jackson, TN. 

Police say that at approximately 8:45 a.m., the congregation observed several crosses hung upside down, the numbers “666” written in the Bible on the church altar. Also, craved on the church altar were the words “Smoke Meth & Hail Satan,” along with the number “666.” 

CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn.- Carroll County deputies are investigating after one West Tennessee church and cemetery were the target of vicious vandals. 

Cedar Grove residents said told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that the Old Palestine Church, a Christian place of worship has recently become a playground for vandals.Deputies said there is rumor that the church and cemetery are haunted, making it a target for trespassers who are drawn into investigate possible paranormal activity.Gail Carr who has several family members laid to rest in the cemetery, said almost every time she visits her loved ones she finds evidence of vandalism.

“It’s just unbelievable how could somebody come and destroy a cemetery it’s just unbelievable,” resident Gail Carr said.

Jim Thompson, the Old Palestine Cemetery groundskeeper, said he’s recently had trouble with people knocking over and breaking marked graves. Thompson said some of the headstones in the cemetery date back to the early 1800s. He said the sacred area has been attacked at least three times, destroying nearly 24 headstones. Some graves reportedly had marks stolen off of the property.

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – An Okeechobee church became the target for vandals on Tuesday, causing about $20,000 worth of damage, according to Okeechobee Police.

The vandals ruined almost everything, but took nothing from The Pentecostals of Okeechobee

Church members say they were heading to a prayer service Tuesday night when water came pouring out of the doors.

One member spent hours cleaning the mess up on Wednesday. “I felt violated. I honestly didn’t feel safe, and when I come here I always feel safe.”

Reverend Raymond Warren says the vandals first clogged three sinks in the church and left the water running for hours.

They’ve had to pull up all the wood floors, and have to replace damp carpet. 

The vandals then went for the church’s cleaning supplies, and poured bleach on the chairs and carpet. They also knocked over an organ, and cut the cords attached to speakers and microphones. They also poured bleach on instruments.

“The laptop computer that was on the pulpit, they poured bleach in that,” pastor Warren said.

Whoever broke in, however, didn’t complete the damage without leaving a mark. Reverend Warren says residue left from a fire extinguisher that was sprayed in the church revealed footprints. He says the shoe size is an 11 1/2.

FRANKLIN TWP. — Nine statues at St. Mary’s Catholic Church were vandalized overnight when their heads were removed.

According to Diocese of Camden spokesman Peter Feuerherd, the vandalism occurred sometime in the early morning hours and has been reported to the Franklin Township Police Department and the church’s insurance company for possible repair.

The incident is under investigation and no motive has yet been determined.

“Obviously it’s something that is disturbing and something that is obviously the product of a twisted mind of some sort,” Feuerherd said.


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