Woman forgives church purse snatcher

Published: May 22, 2007 | 6233rd good news item since 2003

Her family thinks she’s crazy, yet Rosemary Corales forgives the man who stole her purse from her side while she sat praying in church.

Corales, 83, first thought the man at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Metairie, on the morning of May 10 was a construction worker: He wore a baseball cap and carried a roll of plastic sheeting. She paid him no mind, concentrating in a pew on her rosary, as he made his way around the sanctuary. Then she heard a little noise, looked down and noticed her purse was missing.

“I yelled, and he ran real fast out the front door,” she said Friday.

Others in the sanctuary also called after him, but he got away. He apparently tried later to use her credit cards at several businesses, but Corales had canceled the cards and notified her bank.

Corales is praying for the thief, even though she said her family questions her judgment. She said she learned patience and forgiveness in her former job as a student aide at Alfred T. Bonnabel High School in Kenner. Besides, she said, the thief was probably hungry.

“Well, the pope forgave the man who shot him. Why can’t I forgive the man who robbed me?”

Published in Values
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