LEXINGTON, Miss. — The Latest on nuns killed in Mississippi (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

More than 300 people came to a small church to say farewell to two nuns killed in their Mississippi home.

About 145 people filled St. Thomas Church in Lexington, where Sisters Paula Merrill and Margaret Held led Bible study.

Others filled 160 chairs outside the church, where a monitor showed the Sunday night service, and still more stood alongside the seats to watch.

Bishop Joseph Kopacz (KOH-pak) of the Jackson Diocese led the service called a vigil for the deceased.

The church’s priest, the Rev. Gregory Plata, spoke about how far-reaching their nuns’ work was, and how much they’ll be missed.

Both women were 68 years old. They worked in a clinic in Lexington, about 10 miles from their home in Durant.

The final hymn, described as Sister Margaret Held’s favorite, was “How Can I Keep from Singing?”


4:30 p.m.

In the hours before a wake for two nuns killed in their Mississippi home, a few members of their orders gathered at the house where they lived and died.

Along with some members of Sister Paula Merrill’s family, they prayed outside the house, then went inside.

Sister Susan Gatz, president of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, says Sister Margaret Held had baked bread for a prayer service that had been scheduled Thursday, the day her body and that of Sister Paula Merrill were found.

She said the loaf was split between The School Sisters of St. Francis, to which Held belonged, and Merrill’s order, the Sisters of Charity. She says it will be eaten as part of a celebration of the two women’s lives and work.

A wake Sunday evening was scheduled at St. Thomas Church in Lexington where the nuns led Bible study.


12:30 p.m.

Friends and colleagues who knew two nuns killed in their Mississippi home are gathering to remember them.

A wake is scheduled to be held Sunday at the St. Thomas Church in Lexington where the women led Bible study.

A mass will also be held Monday in Jackson.

The nuns’ bodies were found Thursday in their Mississippi home. A suspect, Rodney Earl Sanders, was arrested late Friday.

The Holmes County Sheriff Willie March says Sanders confessed to the killings during questioning.

A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections says Sanders was out on probation after being convicted last year of felony DUI.

Grace Simmons Fisher says Sanders was also convicted of armed robbery back in the 1980s.

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