A group of elderly ladies have been praised as heroes after fighting off an attacker who attempted to attack their priest. The incident occurred at a central Edmonton just after evening mass, when a man set upon the priest as mass was coming to an end.
Edmonton police have said that, on the evening of March 13, the presiding priest at Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish was saying goodbye to his church members when a man attacked him. “He noticed a young man who he didn’t recognize and asked him, ‘Do you speak Polish?’ And the guy said no,” stated Lorraine Turchansky, chief communications officer with the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, according to Global News.
Then, the man put his hands around the priest’s throat and began to strangle him.
“The next thing you know … he grabbed him and he got thrown to the ground and started getting choked,” Turchansky recalled.
‘They started striking the guy with their canes’
At this point, the old faithful quickly assessed the situation and, with staggering courage, stepped in to help. “They were quite perturbed by this and shocked, really,” Turchansky said of the elderly women. “They were older women so they’re not the kind of people who would whip out a cellphone and take a video or call 911. They did what they could and they had canes. They started striking the guy with their canes.”
Another of the women dived in and attempted to pull the crazed man off their beloved priest. At this point, the suspect fled.
The priest himself was not left with any serious injuries. However, Turchansky said he was left extremely shaken up by the whole incident. “Father is doing alright; he’s totally recovered,” the spokeswoman noted. “He was certainly traumatized, he didn’t want to sleep in his own rectory that night so he went to a friend’s.”
Just over a week later, another Canadian priest was stabbed in a vicious attack that was caught on a live stream. In light of this shocking incident, Turchansky said the attack on their church leaders, “could have been much worse, for sure.
“Of course, this is something that no one really expects,” she added. “At the same time, though, our churches are public places. The priest is there in a very public way so they are vulnerable, I guess, in some ways.”
God bless these brave women for their courageous intervention — had it not been for their bravery and steely determination, the result could have been a lot worse.
“We thank God for them and we thank God that he didn’t suffer any serious injury at all,” said Turchansky. “I think what we find in a lot of parishes is that people love their priest and they will go to bat for them and they will go to cane for them.”