SEREMBAN - A nun is fighting for her life while another is seriously injured after they were beaten up by attackers believed to be snatch thieves.
The elderly women from the Holy Infant Jesus Convent were outside the Church of Visitation at about 6am yesterday for morning mass when they were attacked.
Sister Julianna Lim, in her late 60s, slipped into a coma while Sister Marie Rose alias Theresa Teng, 79, who was also badly injured, has regained consciousness.
Doctors at the Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital said they were keeping a close watch on the nuns.
"Sister Julianna is on a respirator and her condition is critical. We are praying for her speedy recovery," said Father Gregory Chan from the Church of Visitation.
Some church members were trying to talk to Rose at her hospital bed but she was too traumatised to speak.
Chan said caretakers found the nuns sprawled at the entrance to the church when they opened the main gate along Jalan Yam Tuan.
"Both were badly bruised and bleeding. We do not know for sure what happened because no eyewitnesses have come forward," he said.
The caretakers waited for paramedics to arrive before moving the nuns, said Chan.
"They attend mass every morning and are well known by the congregation.
"We are shocked at this senseless attack," said a church member, who asked for anonymity.
According to church members, several snatch thefts had happened near there in recent months.
In one incident, an elderly woman was pushed into a drain, beaten up and then robbed.
"Who would have the heart to harm two old women at the entrance to a church?" asked another church member, who also declined to be named.
"We hope the authorities can organise more patrols in the area, particularly in the early morning, to prevent a recurrence," he said.
Chan said the nuns would only have had articles of faith when on their way to mass.
"They would have been carrying rosaries or copies of the Bible at the most," he said.
Bukit Aman CID deputy director (investigation and law) Deputy Comm Datuk Amar Singh said police were investigating and would take swift action.