A man entered the Nice church and repeatedly stabbed Fr. Krzysztof Rudziński in the chest before Sister Marie-Claude intervened.
ACatholic priest was repeatedly stabbed before Mass in a church in Nice, in southeastern France on Sunday.
A 31-year-old man entered the Saint-Pierre d’Arene church before Mass on Sunday, April 24, and stabbed Fr. Krzysztof Rudziński more than 20 times in the chest, reported Catholic News Agency.
“A service was supposed to start here at 10:30 a.m., some of the faithful were already in place. Before the start of the service, a person came in armed with a knife and rushed at the priest and hit him several times with his knife, “said the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes, Bernard Gonzales, according to a report by RTL.
“One of the people present, a nun, a sister, immediately went to her side to try to help her. She too was injured,” he said.
In attempting to disarm the attacker, 72-year-old, Sr. Marie-Claude reportedly sustained an injury to her arm.
While some local news outlets are reporting that the priest is in critical condition, the Diocese of Nice issued a statement on April 24 that the priest and Sr. Marie-Claude are expected to recover from their injuries.
Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said that the assailant, a French man without a criminal record, was “mentally unstable,” reported Reuters news service.
Suspect suffered from psychiatric disorder
The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office said that police do not believe the attacker was motivated by terrorism, according to a report by RTL.
“According to a police source, this man, named ‘Kevin,’ of French nationality and born in Fréjus, is ‘manifestly bipolar’ and his gesture would have ‘no terrorist character a priori,’” the prosecutor said, reported RTL.
“He spontaneously told the police that he was Jewish and that on this election day he wanted to kill Macron and that he ended up attacking a church,” he said.
Police arrested the suspect, who is now in the care of a psychiatric hospital, according to news reports.
Courageous 72-year-old nun: it was the “grace of the Lord”
Local politician Éric Ciotti posted on his Twitter account:
“Extraordinary courage of Sister Marie-Claude who intervened while the attacker continued to stab Father Christophe,” he wrote.
“She snatched the knife from him while being injured on the forearm.”
A day after the attack Sr. Marie-Claude told the news outlet RTL that “a supernatural intervention” stopped the attacker from killing both her and the priest.
“I was bleeding a lot, Father Krzysztof was on the ground,” Sr. Marie-Claude said.
“The boy stopped. I don’t know how. I think with the grace of the Lord, because it is regularly asked for. I think there was a supernatural intervention that stopped him because he had everything for both to stab me in the carotid or in the heart and the same for Father Christophe. He stopped. Why? I don’t know,” she told RTL.
Fr. Rudziński is originally from Suchowola, in northeastern Poland, and has served at the church for ten years.