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Can a mother forgive her daughter's killer? A documentary says the answer is Yes

2014-12-16

There are some stories that are so complicated and emotional, they are best expressed through video. That's the case of this documentary titled 'The Heart of a Murder,' where a mother forgives the man who killed her daughter. 

This of course is the happy ending that came after a long emotional journey. Rani Maria, a nun,was killed by man who thought her religious convictions posed a threat. The mother of the victim has forgiven him. 

CATHERINE MCGILVRAY
Director, The Heart of a Murderer
"The movie shows that it's possible to respond to evil with good. It is possible to engage in a superior way of thinking that doesn't respond to evil with evil, but rather with love and forgiveness. It's a way to witness a miracle and transform the person who hurt you so much.” 

On February 25th, 1995 the killer, Samundar, stabbed sister Rani Maria more than 50 times. It wasn't a random act. He now admits that he believed Christians were enemies who posed a threat to Indian people. 

"She is our mother.”
"I was weeding the field, when someone came up to us and told us our Rani had been killed. I left everything and ran.” 

The killer was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Father Swani, a Catholic priest, read the story in a newspaper. He contacted the killer and visited him in prison. 

FR. SWAMI
"The first time I met him he was very discouraged. He was full of anger and despair. Because he felt that he had been cheated by others. So he had that feeling at that time. But when I embraced him...there was long silence.” FLASH What I told him was 'God has forgiven you and we also forgive you. And I accept you as my own younger brother, and I'll be with you all my life.'”

Over time, Fr. Swami even organized a visit between the victim's sister and the killer. It was more than just a meeting though. It was a moment of forgiveness and of moving forward. 

CATHERINE MCGILVRAY
Director, The Heart of a Murderer
"At that moment, Samundar, the murderer in a way becomes brother of Selmy, the victim's sister.  It's an incredible moment. She accepts and becomes the so called blood-sister of the person who killed her real sister.”

FR. SWAMI
"God is fully alive because it's beyond our capacity. In a human way, when we think, it's be impossible. For Him, it's really possible. I believe it. God is fully alive and active.”

The connection between the family of the murdered nun and her killer, grew even stronger. So much so that in 2006, they requested that he be released from prison. Now, Samundar has reconciled his past with the victim's family, himself and above all else with God. Just a year later, in 2007, Rani Maria was declared a Servant of God. Her beatification process is underway. 

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Up: MPI