DC Catholic community searches and prays for missing student

A graduate student at a Catholic institution in Washington, D.C. was reported missing Wednesday, and the nearby Catholic University of America is requesting information about her whereabouts and organizing a gathering to pray for her safe return.

Taylor Hackel, 24, is a student at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which is located on the campus of CUA. The Wisconsin native was last seen Oct. 24 and was reported missing two days later.

Hackel is described in the D.C. police bulletin as 5 feet 4 inches tall, 130 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and last seen wearing a tan sweater, white shirt, and black pants. Police urged anyone with information to contact them at 202-727-9099.

An Oct. 28 email to students from the university’s communications vice president, Karna Lozoya, states that Hackel was last seen in the 600 block of Jackson Street, Northeast, on Oct. 24, not far from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Lozoya said members of the JPII Institute community planned to pray the rosary for her at 1 p.m. Friday at the St. John Paul II National Shrine (Luminous Mysteries chapel), located at 3900 Harewood Road, and that all were welcome to join.

“Please contact the MPD … if you have any information about Taylor, and please join us in praying for her safe return,” Lozoya concluded.

As of Friday afternoon, there was no news of Hackel’s whereabouts.

Hackel graduated from Wausau Newman Catholic High School in Wausau, Wisconsin, in 2016, according to a story from her hometown newspaper. While in college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, she was active in several charitable organizations: serving meals at Salvation Army, volunteering in intake and kitchen duties for a Catholic Charities Warming Center, and being a pen pal with prisoners. She also prayed frequently with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration while in La Crosse.

Note: A previous version of this story stated that Hackel is a student at The Catholic University of America, but in fact the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, while located on CUA's campus, is a separate institution.

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