People gather to remember Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Family and friends remember the lives of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill.

A memorial mass was held at the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle in Jackson.

Loved ones traveled from all around the country to pay their respects.

Their devotion to helping others and selfless acts of kindness will not soon be forgotten.

“They dedicated their lives to just doing the little things that so many people in this world just don’t do for one another, you know, total strangers,” said David Merrill, Sister Merrill’s nephew.

Family and friends will remember Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill as the unsung heroes of the Holmes County Community.

“I weep as a family member who has lost a loved one like we all do when we lose a loved one; but just to see it on the faces of so many strangers who came up and embraced us, that’s the real tragedy, is what happen to Holmes County,” said Merrill.

“They were there for thousands of people and what will happen to those people? That needs to keep going and that’s our greatest wish I think,” said Annette Held, Sister Margaret Held’s sister.

David Merrill and Annette Held are trying to understand how and why someone would want to brutally murder these two women.

“Can you ever forgive the person who did this?”

“To a degree, yes; because that’s what Paula and Margaret would want you know I’m not as strong as they are.”

“They would just want to forgive and be merciful to that man so I think we have to keep that in mind.”

Sister Paula’s nephew has a plea for anyone.

“Everyone just be kind to one another. If there is some inspiration to come of this to take is, just to look at what their lives did and that was just to help the people,” said Merrill.

We’re told the sisters will be taken to their respective communities in Kentucky and Wisconsin for funerals and burials.


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