Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Attack on Sister Nora an outrage

Sister Nora Brick was asleep Tuesday afternoon when I went to see her at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

So I went to the nurses station just outside her room and began to write her a note, wishing her a rapid recovery.

Just then a nurse entered her room and beckoned me to follow.

The 81-year-old nun turned over and looked at us through a pair of eyes that were swollen and purple.

Her forehead was scabbed up, her nose broken.

The sight broke your heart ... and filled you with outrage.

That someone would do this to the beloved nun, one who has given so much of herself to the migrant community and Manatee County's poor, was beyond comprehension.

Eliseo Ortiz, a 51-year-old homeless man, was the alleged assailant in the unprovoked attack on Valentine's Day and was still at large Tuesday afternoon.

Volunteers at Sister Nora's Stillpoint House of Prayer on 14th Street West had been concerned about her safety, but the diminutive nun just seemed to be able to go about her missions of mercy without any troubles.

Ernie Bigelow, a strapping fellow, thought so.

"I'd stay here until she was ready to leave but after awhile I saw she could handle it," he said. "I figured Jesus has got her back. Then this guy shows up."

Sister Nora said she was shocked by the attack, which also left her with a concussion.

Chances are she'll remain in the hospital until the weekend.

"I can use the rest, even if I had to go through this to get it," she said. "I can still see, thanks be to God."

Her County Kerry brogue was as strong as ever.

Her faith was as strong as ever, too.

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