By Reg Chapman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A nun with the Sisters of St. Joseph was killed near a busy St. Paul intersection on Monday morning.

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Eighty-five- year-old Sister Mary Beneva died after a pickup truck hit her while she was out for her morning walk.

Friends say walking was something Sister Mary Beneva did every morning. She would walk for about 45 minutes to start her day. No one expected that when she left for her walk, she would not return.

For 68 years, Sister Mary Beneva called the Sisters of St. Joseph family.

Sister Mary Kraft says Sister Mary Beneva had a heart for God, as well as for the children she taught.

“During most of her life in our community she taught elementary school, she taught grades two through eight,” said Sister Mary Kraft. “She had a real reputation for really being an excellent educator, and by that I mean she knew how to handle the students, she knew how to relate to the parents, and she knew what it meant to be a team player on the faculty.”

She taught at schools in both Minneapolis and St. Paul until she retired in 2008.

The Sisters of St. Joseph are trying to come to grips with the tragic events that led to Sister Mary Beneva’s death.

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The fatal accident occurred near Cretin and Highland Parkway shortly after 9 a.m. She was taken to Regions Hospital where she died a short time later.

The 47-year-old driver of the truck that hit her did stop. Police say alcohol was not involved in the accident and the driver was not speeding.

“Our sisters were very concerned about the individual who was driving. Our loving prayers and support go out to that person too,” she said.

Sister Mary Beneva leaves behind a legacy of love, compassion and service to God and mankind. Although retired, she never really stopped working.

She spent her last years teaching English to new immigrants. Her new ministry started just six months ago in the building she called home.

She also worked to help seniors stay independent for as long as possible.

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Reg Chapman