Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 30, 2016 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The community of the Missionaries of Charity in Mar del Plata, Argentina, became the target of criminals late last week, as three men broke in, beat the sisters and desecrated their chapel.
According to reports, three unidentified men entered the house of the community — which was founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta — at around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 25. After beating and gagging the five sisters who reside there so they could not cry for help, the criminals ransacked every corner of the house and finally took 50 Argentinian pesos (approximately $3.30), which was the only cash the sisters had.
They also entered the chapel in search of valuable objects. They opened up the tabernacle and emptied out the consecrated hosts that were there in the ciborium, presumably to steal the sacred vessel. When they realized that it was not made of gold, they left it behind.
The congregation was founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who will be canonized by Pope Francis on September 4. The community has been present for 20 years in the city of Mar del Plata in the Buenos Aires province. Their mission there focuses mainly on giving free care to terminally ill HIV/AIDS patients at the Queen of Peace Home.
On August 22, just three days before the attack, Bishop Antonio Marino of Mar del Plata had visited the community, in recognition of the upcoming canonization of their foundress and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This marks the second time in recent weeks that the Eucharist was desecrated in Argentina. On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, unidentified men entered Our Lady of Mercy parish in the Santa Fe province of Argentina, where they desecrated and stole a bronze tabernacle containing consecrated hosts. An act of reparation was offered on August 17 in the desecrated church, which consisted of a Eucharistic Holy Hour and then a Mass presided by the Archbishop of Santa Fe, José María Arancedo.
“This calls us to increase our love for Jesus in the Eucharist, to strengthen our hearts joined to him, to strengthen our faith in the Lord, because these are times of the persecution of the Church, and like the first Christians we need to be strengthened and encouraged to walk with resolve on the path of faith,” he said.