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April 19 to April 25, 2006 - Page 3

Murder victim Clare Kalkwarf with Fr Gérard Lagleder O.S.B.

 Murder 'rips heart out' of charity

Church worker killed


The violent death of Clare Kalkwarf, founder member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in Mandini in Eshowe diocese and manager of the Blessed Gérard's Care Centre, has been described as "in ineffable loss".

Benedictine Father Gérard Lagleder, head of the care centre, spoke a few days after Mrs Kalkwarf, 56, was shot dead in front of her husband, Geoffrey, at their Mandini home by intruders, after arriving home late at night.

Reporters said her 60-year-old husband was accosted by four armed men around 19:00 on April 7. They tied him to a chair with shoe laces and then ransacked the house.1

In a statement, investigating officer Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said the men apparently did not find anything they wanted and waited for Mrs Kalkwarf to arrive. When she arrived home around 23:45 the intruders confronted her.2

A struggle ensued during which Mrs Kalkwarf was shot once in the chest. She died at the scene.

The attackers then fled in the Kalkwarf's white Volkswagen Golf with a television set, laptop computer, household goods and liquor. An investigation is still underway.

Aside from co-founding the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard in 1992, of which she was vice-president and manager of its care centre for ten years, Mrs Kalkwarf was a board member of Catholic Health Care Association (CATHCA) since 2002.

She was also secretary of the Diocesan Aids Committee of Eshowe and a working group member of the Inter-diocesan Aids Committee of KwaZulu-Natal.

She had been made a dame of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Order of Malta), in recognition of her work with the care centre.

A statement from CATHCA described Mrs Kalkwarf as "a pillar of that institution, which included a hospice, clinic and an orphanage."

Fr Lagleder said: "The heart has been ripped out of Blessed Gérard's chest. I am its head, but she was its heart, and would not have existed without her." He said before she was employed as manager, and even afterwards, she gave unstintingly of her time volunteering, which took up part of her 16-hour day.

"Her work here was so much more than a job - it was a vocation" although there will always be people employed there, someone like her can never be replaced, he said adding that the brotherhood wished at some stage to start the Clare Kalkwarf Memorial Fund to continue its work in Eshowe diocese.

Oakford Dominican Sister Alison Munro, coordinating secretary of the bishops' Aids Office, said: "The SACBC Aids Office deplores the senseless and tragic death of Clare Kalkwarf ...[who] will be missed for her dedication, her commitment beyond the call of duty, and her availability to many sick people and those in need of care."

Mrs Kalkwarf's funeral was expected take place at the Blessed Gérard Church at the care centre, followed by her burial in its grounds.

1 The murder happened on April 6 and Mr Kalkwarf was tied with ropes and lying on the floor of their dining room.

2 Mrs Kalkwarf arrived just before 23:00. The official time of death was 23:02.


This page was created on 28 April 2006 and last updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 00:36:54

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