Cane-wielding ‘elderly ladies’ save Catholic priest from mystery attacker

A group of cane-wielding “elderly ladies” is being credited with beating back a mystery attacker who lunged at a Canadian priest following a mass, police and officials say.

Father Marcin Mironiuk had just wrapped up an evening service at the Our Lady Queen of Poland church in Edmonton on March 13 when a man he didn’t recognize approached him, threw him to the ground and put him in a chokehold, according to Lorraine Turchansky, a spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

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"They were elderly ladies who were very shocked, understandably, but they did manage to intervene," Turchansky told CBC Radio. "They hit him with their canes and got him to release the priest.”

Mironiuk was reported to be unhurt from the incident – and Edmonton police are now searching for the alleged attacker, described as a white male around 25 years old, with short dark hair and last seen wearing a red shirt and black jacket.

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Police confirmed to CBC that the parishioners helped chase him out of the church and said he reeked of liquor during the time of the alleged incident.

"Perhaps if they had been younger they would have had their cell phones out and would have been calling 911 but that wasn't the case here," Turchansky said.