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Nun Arrives in Full Habit for Trial

Justice SystemHighway and Road DisastersTransportation DisastersTrials and ArbitrationWGN

(WGN-AM)- Sister Marie Marot appeared in full habit Monday morning for the beginning of her trial on a traffic violation charge stemming from a fatal accident.

Over the objection of prosecutors, a Kane County Judge Ronald Matekaitis ruled Friday that she could wear the traditional long, dark gray and black garb of the Fraternite Notre Dame order.

The order is a "traditional Catholic" group but is not affiliated with the Vatican. Founded in 1977 by Bishop Jean Marie Kozik, who said he was following a request from the Virgin Mary, the order celebrates the Tridentine mass, a historic form of liturgy spoken in Latin.

Prosecutors had asked that Marot, 24, not wear her habit, saying it could either evoke sympathy or conversely engender anti-Catholic prejudice among potential jurors.

A jury will hear evidence on charges Marot ran a red light in October 2007 at the intersection of Illinois Route 72 and Randall Road in Elgin as she drove to the Fraternite Notre Dame church on Chicago's West Side from the order's convent in Marengo. Her van collided with another car, killing a 16-year-old Carpentersville boy.

She has maintained that the traffic signal was green, her attorney, Don Brewer, said.

Had the judge ruled against her, Sister Marie Marot, who is French, would have likely worn her habit anyway, her mother superior said.

"When you voluntarily choose to respond to God's calling, you have stronger ties," Sister Marie Martha said.

The family of the teen killed in the crash has filed a civil suit, and the traffic court outcome could affect that suit, Brewer said.

Eight jurors were selected Monday before a break for lunch. Jury selection will continue this afternoon with the hope the trial will begin today. The trial is expected to last through Tuesday.

(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)

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