Nuns in deadly DUI crash- community reacts

Carlos Montano
Carlos Montano

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A deadly weekend accident has stunned the community of St. Gertrude High School in Richmond.

Sister Denise Mosier was killed in Sunday's crash in Northern Virginia. She had close ties to St. Gertrude. All three nuns in the car were members of the order that runs the school, including a beloved former principal.

St. Gertrude School is run by nuns of the Benedictine order. Three of its sisters were heading to a retreat at the order's headquarters in Bristow when they were hit by an alleged drunk driver.

"My immediate reaction was just anger and disgust, and I think that's a natural reaction- not the most Christian reaction," said Susan Walker, President of St. Gertrude.

Walker has been fielding hundreds of calls and e-mails from concerned members of the community, offering prayers and support. The nun who was killed, Sister Denise Mosier, was new to Richmond. However, the staff at St. Gertrude knew her well- she had been a regular visitor for years.

Sister Connie Ruth Lupton, also new to Richmond, worked part time at the school as an office assistant. She was seriously hurt in the crash. Also severely injured was Sister Charlotte Lange. She was principal at St. Gertrude for 20 years, retiring in 2005. Her portrait hangs in the school's lobby.

"Generations know her as a teacher, as a principal, as a wonderful, giving person," said Walker.

Even as they mourn the loss of one life, and pray for healing for two others, members of the St. Gertrude community are contemplating forgiveness for the man police say caused the crash, 23 year-old Carlos Montano.

"There's always room for forgiveness," Walker said. "Some things just take longer, and some of us will get there sooner than others. It's been helpful having the sisters- their faith helps."

Montano has been charged with DUI - his third offense in 5 years - involuntary manslaughter, and driving on a revoked license. Sisters Charlotte Lange and Connie Ruth Lupton both remain in critical but stable condition at a Fairfax hospital.

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