Volume > Issue > The Celebrated Matthew Shepard & The Forgotten Mary Stachowicz

The Celebrated Matthew Shepard & The Forgotten Mary Stachowicz

GUEST COLUMN

By Barbara Kralis | May 2003
Barbara Kralis, former editor of the Catholic newsletter Semper Fidelis, directs, with her husband, Mitch, the Jesus Through Mary Foundation in Howe, Texas. Barbara may be reached by email at Avemaria@earthlink.net.

How many of us American Catholics are willing to admonish the sinner (which is one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy) and to evangelize? Not many. But Mary Stachowicz was willing, and for doing so she was brutally murdered. The crime was committed in Chicago on November 13, 2002, the feast day of St. Frances Cabrini — virgin, and the first U.S. saint to be canonized.

Mary, the gentle, devout 51-year-old Catholic mother of four asked a homosexual man, Nicholas Gutierrez, 19, “Why do you want to have sex with boys instead of girls?” Gutierrez said she began to counsel him about his problem.

Gutierrez confessed that he became furious when Mary asked him the question. Allegedly, he brutally punched and kicked Mary; next, he mutilated her body with multiple stab wounds. While Mary was still alive, he shoved a garbage bag over her head, strangled her, and jammed her body into the crawl space under the floor of his Chicago apartment, located above the Sikorski Funeral Home, where they both worked. The Funeral Home is right across the street from Mary’s parish, where moments before she had received Holy Communion.

Her mutilated body was discovered three days after she was slaughtered.

Mary, a Polish-English translator, was witnessing to her Catholic faith and was murdered — martyred — for it.

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