Convent Robbery

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

October 5, 2005
Robberies are among the most common crimes we see. What’s unusual in the story we’re following today is who the victims are and what was stolen.

The nuns at St. Helena say they realized something was wrong when one of the nuns woke up late in the night on Tuesday and noticed some lights on and the door left open. It didn’t occur to them that they were robbed until they noticed their money, cars and even rosaries were gone.

They’re a contribution of love.

“They’re prayer beads and I pray as I make them,” said Sister Linda.

Sister Linda is one of the eight nuns living at the St. Helena Convent off Lumpkin Road in South Augusta. Making these rosaries has been her labor of love and a way to reach out spiritually to others.

“If there is something that is heartbreaking to me that work is gone,” Sister Linda said.

More than 40 sets of rosaries are now gone, all stolen from the convent along with two cars and $500 from the sisters’ cash box. The thieves came in early Tuesday morning while the nuns, including Sister Deborah, were sleeping.

“Horrible, we feel violated, I was very upset,” Sister Deborah said.

Luckily for the nuns, the burglars left behind some of the most valuable rosaries.

The nuns who have vowed a life of chastity, obedience and poverty make these rosaries as one of the few means of providing income for themselves and the convent. It takes as little as 20 minutes to make one set of prayer beads, and up to several hours for the more detailed prayer beads and rosary’s.

“We rely on the income of all of this, it’s not our major source but it is a major contribution. I tend to make them at night when things have quieted down,” Sister Cintra said.

In the tranquil spiritual escape in South Augusta, the routine of the sisters at the convent hasn’t changed much. There are five prayer services again today and an extra prayer for the thief in the night.

“We’re praying for these people who committed this act of deviance and pray they get restored back to health,” Sister Magdalene said.

It’s not a total loss for the sisters of St. Helena’s convent. Deputies did find both of the stolen cars. A substance they believe is cocaine was found in one of the cars.

The convent is kept unlocked throughout the day. After all, this is a place where people are invited to come and meditate. The convent is locked in the evenings but deputies say the keys are not kept in a secured area. Tonight there are new locks on the convent and perhaps an extra prayer.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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