Father Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco:
What She Learned From Being Mugged Many of you know that our own Clarisse was mugged in broad daylight on a busy street at the foot of Nob Hill on Sunday. She and Laurie Murdock (both work extensively in prolife activities and teach children’s catechism for the parish) were walking back from the weekly rosary walk at the cathedral when three men jumped out of a car at them. Clarisse wrote five inspiring “learning points” from the incident, and you can see the ABC coverage in the link below. Here is her account:
What happened (to the best of my memory):
On Sunday, 3/21 at 3:40 p.m., Laurie and I were walking on Bush Street towards Polk Street, a busy intersection in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. We were jumped from behind by 3 people who pulled at my handbag and a reusable grocery bag. Laurie started screaming for help and we fought them to the ground. They dragged us up the sidewalk to their car. I was punched 2-3x in the head as one of the thieves shouted “B****, let go.” When they finally got a hold of my bags, they ran to their car. I ran after them and tried to jump in the back, but was kicked out. Then I grabbed to the side window and tried to stop them as they drove away. I finally wised up and let go. Within an hour, my debit card was charged $500 in Oakland. You can see a little bit of the video of what happened here: https://abc7news.com/
woman-beaten-dragged-during- brazen-sf-robbery-after- church/10442340/.
I’ve definitely learned to be less stubborn and to let go sooner! Here are some other learnings that may be broadly instructive.
1. Based on my subsequent conversations with folks who are in-the-know, I’ve learned that Asians are perceived to carry a lot of cash. That’s part of the reason for why Asians have been targeted. It’s not necessarily a race issue. I was wearing my Sunday church clothes and carrying a big handbag. I was an easy target. My learning is to keep valuables (keys, wallet, phone) on my person and to let the bags go.
2. Put up a fight, up to the extent reasonable. This is my personal opinion: When criminals aren’t met with any resistance, there will be more crimes like this. I was inspired by this 76 year old Asian woman who fought back and sent her attacker to the hospital (video). Bravo! Again, this is my own opinion; it is up to your prudential judgment whether you should fight back in this situation.
3. If you see someone getting attacked, please help them. There were at least half a dozen people taking videos and photos of the crime, but doing nothing to help two women screaming and fighting their attackers. If even 2 of them had jumped in, I think this would gone differently.
4. Exercise your civic responsibility. Over the past couple of days, I’ve run into locals who uniformly say that San Francisco has gotten much more unsafe in just the past year. I encourage everyone to exercise their civic responsibility to restore our great city of San Francisco. Vote, participate in recall campaigns, organize — whatever it takes, because enough is enough.
5. Don’t be afraid. I didn’t feel any fear during the encounter. I believed this helped me avoid any emotional trauma after the incident and aided my physical healing. There is a strong connection between mind and body. As a Catholic Christian, I sincerely credit the daily Mass, the sacraments, prayers and daily consecrations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph for the gifts of fortitude and courage.
I am inspired by Clarisse’s faith and fortitude, which come through in the ABC interview. Clarisse, and many others in our parish, are the fruit of Eucharistic adoration and frequent confession and God-centered Masses. We have a beautiful and strong parish, thanks be to God, who sacrificed his Son for us.
The above comes from a March 25 pastor’s letter by Father Illo.