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Death of nun investigated as a murder

Sister Marguerite Bartz was born in 1945 and professed her final vows in 1974.
Sister Marguerite Bartz was born in 1945 and professed her final vows in 1974.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Body of Sister Marguerite Bartz, 64, found Sunday on Navajo reservation in New Mexico
  • Her home had been broken into and her car stolen
  • FBI looking for her beige 2005 HONDA CR-V with N.J. plate NF24821
  • Diocese: She was known to be a woman always passionate for justice, peace
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(CNN) -- Federal officials said Monday they are seeking information about the killing of a 64-year-old nun whose body was found Sunday on the Navajo reservation in northwest New Mexico.

Sister Marguerite Bartz's body was found in her convent in Navajo, New Mexico, in a remote area of the Four Corners region, said Lee Lamb, communications director for the diocese. Her home had been broken into and her car stolen, Lamb said.

According to the FBI, which has jurisdiction, Bartz was killed between Halloween night and Sunday morning. When she did not appear at Sunday Mass, a colleague checked on her and found her body.

The FBI said it was looking for her beige 2005 HONDA CR-V with New Jersey license plate NF24821.

Bartz, born in 1945 in Plymouth, Wisconsin, entered the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1966 from Beaumont, Texas, and professed final vows in 1974, according to the diocese.

She held a bachelor of arts degree from Xavier University in New Orleans and a master's in religious education from Loyola University, also in New Orleans.

For more than 40 years, Bartz was missioned in Dorchester, Massachusetts; Lawtell, Louisiana; Guadalupe Indian Mission in Pena Blanca, New Mexico; St. Joseph in Laguna, New Mexico; St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and since 1999, St. Berard's in Navajo, New Mexico.

"She was known to be a woman always passionate for justice and peace -- and the life she lived would tell us that she would respond to this incident with a spirit of forgiveness towards whoever is responsible for these acts," the diocese said in a statement.

Sixteen members of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, a religious order founded 118 years ago by St. Katherine Drexel, minister in the Diocese of Gallup.

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