horrific attack last week in Long Island City, New York, Rev. Alexandra Dyer, a Roman Catholic woman priest, was assaulted by a man who tapped her on the shoulder wanting to "ask her something" and, when she turned, threw a cup of drain cleaner in her face. The attack took place in the late afternoon as Rev. Dyer was leaving her job as Executive Director of the Healing Arts Initiative, an organization which breaks down barriers by "bringing art into schools, hospitals, prisons and other health and social service settings as well as by taking marginalized individuals into the community and cultural venues."
Rev. Dyer, who has a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Barnard College, an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, and an MBA with specialization in not-for-profit management from Columbia, was ordained to the priesthood in 2014. Prior to her current position, she worked at the Greyston Foundation and the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center and she ministers at the St. Praxedis Roman Catholic Community with a fellow Roman Catholic woman priest Gabriella Velardi Ward.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests and Women's Ordination Conference issued a joint press statement saying that they were saddened by the attack on Rev. Dyer, which they believe was not related to her status as a priest, and asking prayers and funds for her on her road to recovery.
Rev. Dyer suffered 3rd degree burns on her face from the drain cleaner and was fortunate not to have lost her eyesight. She was aided by a passer-by who called 911 and then transported first to Elmhurst Hospital and then to New York-Presbyterian. Now Dyer is facing an uncertain financial future due to required surgeries and rehabilitation for the attack that has left her disfigured. Another priest, Rev. Susan Schessler, has set up a Go Fund Me account to help Dyer with her expenses.
Meanwhile, the New York City Police Department has issued a sketch of the suspect in this crime and is asking the public's help in locating and arresting him.