Cardinal joins in prayers for Abigail Witchalls

 Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor has expressed his shock at the news of the young Catholic mother who was stabbed in a quiet country village last week. Abigail Witchalls, 26, who is ten weeks pregnant, is recovering in hospital after being attacked last Wednesday afternoon, by an unknown assailant, as she walked with her 21 month old son along a bridle path in Little Bookham, Surrey. She is currently paralysed and has been unable to speak since the attack. The Cardinal said: "I was horrified to hear of the brutal attack on Abigail Witchalls. She and her husband Benoit, and both of their families, are constantly in my thoughts and prayers." He was speaking in the English College, Rome, shortly before returning to London yesterday afternoon. The brother of Benoit, Bruno Witchalls, is a seminarian at the College. He has been been praying for her his sister Claire, and her husband William at the tomb of Pope John Paul II. Church members of all denominations in Surrey are praying for Abigail. She is being especially remembered by her own parish community at Our Lady of Sorrows in Effingham. During his Sunday homily, parish priest Fr John Sheehy said: "We pray for Abigail to be restored to us sooner than predicted and that the gloom and sadness of this parish will be compensated by an influx of joy and happiness from God to us all." He also asked for love and healing to surround her, for her husband Benoit to be given courage and strength, and for her son Joseph to be protected.

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