A surgical staple for securing a purse string suture to human tissue comprises a staple body of deformable material formed into a loop through which the purse string suture is threaded. The staple body includes a pair of legs which are deformable into an overlapping configuration upon insertion into the tissue to secure the staple body and the purse string suture to the tissue. Alternatively, the staple body includes two or more legs including barbed ends for anchoring the legs to the tissue. To secure the purse string suture, a plurality of staples is positioned about the periphery of the tubular section of tissue, the purse string suture is threaded through the loops in the staples, and the staples are driven into the tissue to secure the purse string suture thereto. In addition, a surgical instrument is provided for applying the staples and the purse string suture to the tissue. The instrument includes a pair of staple cartridges each having a row of staple receiving slots intersected by an elongated central slot which allows the purse string suture to be attached to the staples in the cartridge prior to the operation of the instrument.