Wild West nun who challenged Billy the Kid could be a saint

A nun who challenged Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid could one day be declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Sante Fe Archdiocese has received permission from the Vatican to open the cause of Sr Blandina Segale, who was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati.

Sr Blandina taught poor children in Colorado in the 1870s and was later transferred to Sante Fe, New Mexico, where she co-founded public and Catholic schools and helped set up hospitals.

During her time in New Mexico, she worked with the poor, the sick and immigrants.

She also advocated on behalf of Hispanics and Native Americans who were losing their land to swindlers.

But her encounters with Old West outlaws later became the stuff of legend and were the subject of an episode of the CBS series “Death Valley Days”.

The episode, called “The Fastest Nun in the West”, focused on Sr Blandina’s efforts to save a man from a lynch mob.

Her encounters with Billy the Kid remain among her most popular and well-known Western frontier adventures.

According to one story, she received a tip that The Kid was coming to her town to scalp four doctors who had refused to treat his friend’s gunshot wound.

Sr Blandina nursed the friend back to health and when Billy came to Trinidad, Colorado, to thank her, she asked him to abandon his violent plan. He agreed.

Another story claimed that when The Kid spotted Sr Blandina during an attempt to rob a covered wagon, he called off the attack.

He just tipped his hat and left, according to legend.

Many of the tales were recorded in letters that Sr Blandina wrote to her sister, which were later published in the book, “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail”.

Sr Blandina died in 1941, aged 91.

“She was just amazing. It’s tough to live up to her example,” Victoria Marie Forde, of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, said.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe said Sr Blandina’s work still resonates today, with poverty, immigration and child care still high-profile issues.


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