THRISSUR, India — Catholics in southern India faced double tragedies at Easter time: the murder of the rector of a regional major seminary and the suicide of a young nun.

Father K. J. Thomas, rector of St. Peter's Seminary in Bangalore, was found murdered April 1.

In Coimbatore Holy Saturday, March 30, Sister Angeline Nirmala Reena drank poison and told fellow nuns about it during breakfast before she collapsed and died in a hospital in southern Tamil Nadu state.

Police said the family of the 26-year-old nun had complained that she had been harassed in the convent.

Father Thomas, who had been on the faculty of the regional seminary for three decades and its rector for the last five years, apparently died when his head was smashed by intruders.

Condemning the murder as a "most heinous crime," Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore described Father Thomas as "a very pious, soft-spoken and harmless priest."

Police investigators have been quoted by the media as saying that three people had trespassed onto the seminary premises March 26 to rob some antique furniture, and the watchman managed to thwart the robbery. However, the culprits beat him up before escaping.

Police suspect the slain rector might have fallen victim to thieves when they entered the compound under the cover of heavy rain Easter night.