Santa Fe Nun Who Faced Down Billy the Kid on Path to Sainthood

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 09:17 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Vatican has given approval to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to start a "sainthood cause" for Sister Blandina Segale, who ministered to people in the Wild West — including Billy the Kid.

Dubbed "the fastest nun in the West," Italian-born Segale, from the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, worked with the poor and immigrants in the Southwest during the 1870s and 1880s, the Catholic News Service reported.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

Sister Blandina, who died in 1941 at age 91, also had several meetings with the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid and prevented him from killing four doctors, according to published reports.

The Catholic nun helped start St. Joseph Hospital, whose mission continues today as CHI St. Joseph's Children, also known as St. Joseph Community Health and associated with Catholic Health Initiatives.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe posted a notice about Segale's sainthood cause on the doors of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Assisi in the New Mexico city, an event attended by representatives of the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati.

Sister Blandina has officially been given the title "servant of God" while the archdiocese collects documents on her life and ministry and interviews dozens of people about her work.

Sisters of Charity archives and published letters written by Sister Blandina reveal that she had a series of encounters with Billy the Kid and his notorious gang of outlaws, CNS said.
In one story, she stopped Billy the Kid from murdering four doctors in Colorado because they had refused to treat his friend's gunshot wound, CNS reported. She nursed the friend back to health.

And in another account, Billy the Kid noticed Sister Blandina nearby when he was about to rob a covered wagon and he called off the attack.

She also allegedly saved a man from a lynching party by acting as go-between to get him and the man he shot to reconcile. That story was retold in an episode titled "The Fastest Nun in the West" of the popular TV series "Death Valley Days," the news agency said.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

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