80 Year-Old Priest Severely Beaten in Chicago Rectory

Early Tuesday morning two men broke into the rectory of St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Chicago and severely beat an 80 year-old priest who was sleeping in his bed.

CBSChicago.com is reporting that Father Dan Mallette said he woke up around midnight to find two people standing over his bed. The next thing he knew, he was being beaten with some kind of stick or cane while the men demanded money. After stealing $600, the thiefs left him with broken ribs and severe facial injuries.

Mallette was the victim of a “vicious, vicious assault” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, a parishioner at the church.

Sheriff Dart said Mallette married he and his wife, baptized their children and conducted his father’s funeral, and that he considers him more than just a priest.

“He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s just so outrageous,” Dart said. “You don’t know where to start with this – the evil and the cowardice, I mean, in the middle of the night, attacking an 80-year-old man who’s sound asleep in his bed – a man who frankly would give his shirt off his back, and does it all the time.”

In spite of his injuries, however, Father Mallette was back in the rectory the same day and is in good spirits.

“He is in a lot of pain – a couple of broken ribs, stitches, black eyes – he was beaten pretty badly,” said longtime friend and parishioner William Harris. 

On Tuesday evening, the children who attend St. Margaret of Scotland School gathered in the Church to pray for Father Mallette.

“We felt that it was absolutely necessary for us to come together and pray – not just for Father Mallette, but also the individuals who committed this crime against him,” said Rickey Harris, the principal of the school.

Father Mallette has been at St. Margaret’s since 1977. He turned 80 just this past weekend. Parishioners told CBS he regularly visits prisons, serves communion at hospitals, says Mass every day at 8:30 a.m., and maintains the schedule of a 40-year-old man.

Although the attack was heartless, Father Mallette is all about forgiveness.

“It’s an outrage. The first feeling is a feeling of anger, but then the second feeling comes quickly about – how would Dan feel?” Harris said. “Dan would forgive these people, even though they did something that is totally unexplainable.”

Police are still investigating the crime and have thus far taken no one into custody.

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