A French politician is praising a nun for her “extraordinary courage” after she lunged in front of a knife-wielding man as he attacked a Catholic priest at a church.
Eric Ciotti, a lawmaker, lauded Sister Marie-Claude’s heroism after announcing that Father Christophe of Église Saint-Pierre-d’Arène de Nice had been stabbed “several times” inside the church, according to Fox News. Firefighters transported the priest to Hospital Pasteur, a university hospital in Nice.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted Sunday the priest’s injuries were non-life-threatening.
Speaking to reporters over the weekend, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi described the suspect as a mentally unstable French national, although a motive has not yet been determined. And Bernard Gonzalez, prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department of southeast France, noted the suspect had no prior criminal record.
He did reveal, however, that the man, believed to be 31 years old, had stayed at the Sainte-Marie psychiatric hospital in Nice several times for monitoring.
Before stabbing the priest and nun, the attacker reportedly yelled, “We have to kill Macron,” referring to French President Emmanuel Macron, who just won his re-election bid.
“I was the first on the scene once I was alerted to the incident by my assistant and the local police,” said Estrosi. “Both local and national police were swiftly on the scene together to neutralize the disturbance.”
The mayor also offered a brief update on Father Christophe’s condition.
“I want to thank the emergency services,” he said. “Even though the priest is currently in the emergency care unit, he’s being well taken care of and we are in constant contact with him and, despite everything, he is doing well and is awake and alert.”