MANATEE -- Sister Nora Brick is an inspiration of strength.
So say community leaders throughout Manatee County. Three days after she was brutally beaten, Sister Nora was released Thursday from Manatee Memorial Hospital and taken to stay with members of her congregation.
Sister Nora, 81, was assaulted at her home on Valentine’s Day in the Mary Ann Mobile Home Park & Efficiency Apartments on 14th Street West. She suffered black eyes, a broken nose, a concussion and cuts on her forehead as a result.
“I was there with her this morning before she was discharged and the doctors said she was fine,” said Luz Corcuera, the program director for Healthy Start of Manatee County and a friend of the sister. “She is healing so well and she attributes that to her inner strength and prayers.”
Detectives were still looking for their only suspect, Eliseo Ortiz, and have obtained a warrant for his arrest, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Dave Bristow.
When she is ready, Sister Nora will be taken to New Jersey where she will finish healing and stay permanently with her order.
The Franciscan nun will go to “the mother house so they can take care of her while she is recovering,” Corcuera said.
“She will come back to say goodbye when she is in good health. You have to understand she suffered a major trauma.”
For now, posters with Ortiz’s photo and the words “wanted call 911” written in English and Spanish below them are taped on the doors of Stillpoint House of Prayer, where volunteers provide food, financial assistance and other support for migrant workers and needy residents of Manatee County.
But Sister Nora has already forgiven him.
“She’s a remarkable person; she said she pardoned the man for doing that,” said Donald Gaudette, a manager at Stillpoint.
Sister Nora spent much of her time giving back to the community through Stillpoint.
“That’s how we know her, as the Mother Teresa of Manatee County,” Corcuera said.
“The person who hurt her didn’t think of the consequences. He not only hurt her, but all of us in Manatee.”