From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: St. Louis cathedral secretary stabbed, killed by homeless man

Date Fri, 20 Dec 2002 16:48:06 -0500

December 20, 2002


Episcopalians: St. Louis cathedral secretary stabbed, killed by 
homeless man

by Robert Brown

(ENS) A 64-year-old church secretary, known for her compassion 
and understanding in dealing with the homeless, died after 
apparently being attacked by a homeless man in the hallway 
outside her office December 19 at Christ Church Cathedral in 
downtown St. Louis.

Carol Bledsoe, who had worked at the cathedral for nearly four 
years, reportedly went into the hallway shortly after lunchtime 
to investigate a disturbance and was stabbed in the neck. She 
stumbled into the office of a coworker, who called for help 
while another coworker administered first aid. She was taken to 
a nearby hospital by fire department medics, where she died a 
short time later.

Police soon arrested a 45-year-old man outside the cathedral 
whom one officer described as having "a mental condition." The 
man was known to cathedral workers, although he was not among 
the regular group of homeless men who frequently participate in 
a morning breakfast program operated by the cathedral. That 
breakfast program was open as usual the next morning.

Bledsoe was known by her coworkers as someone who did not 
tolerate foul language or rude behavior from the homeless men 
and women who came to her office, but she never failed to go the 
extra step to make sure their needs were met and was patient in 
listening to their stories. She was on a first-name basis with 
many of the men and women, who called her "Miss Carol." As 
police taped off the Bishop Tuttle Memorial Building, housing 
the cathedral and diocesan offices, word spread among the 
homeless men gathering outside that "Miss Carol had been 
stabbed." A number of the men were visibly upset.

"I don't know what to say. All I know is that it hurts," Dean 
Ronald Clingenpeel told a congregation of about 150 persons who 
gathered for a prayer service in the Cathedral that evening.

The next morning, members of the cathedral and diocesan staffs, 
along with a number of homeless persons attending the breakfast 
program, took part in a Rite of Restoring Things Profaned. 
Bishop George Wayne Smith sprinkled the floor with holy water, 
reclaiming the hallway and offices as holy space.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Bledsoe and her husband, Jack 
lived in the St. Louis suburb of Affton and were members of 
Emmanuel Episcopal Church in suburban Webster Groves. She is 
survived by her husband, a son, and two grandchildren.


Robert Brown is communications director for the Diocese of 

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