|A group of Fraternite Notre Dame nuns living in and serving Chicago’s West Side just received a major blessing after the church’s two main boilers died — one on Ash Wednesday, and the other just two weeks earlier — leaving the nuns in freezing cold temperatures as Chicago experienced single-digit and sub-zero temperatures during the third week of February.
Although the initial plan was to repair the boilers, which would cost an estimated $40,000, the church eventually decided that a better long-term solution would require more HVAC work, including insulation and piping repairs in addition to boiler maintenance.
Unfortunately, as Sister Marie Valerie told CBS 2 Chicago, the nuns estimated that they would need about $200,000 to fund the new heating system — which the church definitely could not afford, since they give every extra penny to their community, through the church’s daily soup kitchen and food pantry.
The nuns set up electric space heaters and managed to continue operations in the church buildings, which reached a cool 34 degrees at one point. With the assistance of two GoFundMe pages, along with a huge donation from Chicago’s Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, the nuns ended up collecting more than $230,000 in just three days, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
The money will easily pay for a completely new energy-efficient heating system, surely saving money for the church, which loses heat quickly due to improper insulation and 100-year-old infrastructure.
Sister Marie Valerie and Sister Marie Myriam stated that all extra funding will be directed toward community programs that the church already runs.
“We were very impressed by how the people react so fast. They were really concerned about our problem, and we are so happy and we are so grateful,” Sister Marie Myriam stated. “As nuns, we prayed, of course. We prayed and asked God to help us and you see the results are just great, because so many people helped us.”
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