Peaceful protests in Chicago were followed by rioting and looting on Saturday, with rioters targeting the “Magnificent Mile” shopping district along Michigan Avenue. One of the stores that was broken into was Pauline Books and Media, run by the Daughters of St. Paul religious sisters.
Our Sisters in Chicago are all safe, but our bookcenter was broken into and looted last night during the riots.
Please pray for our Sisters.
And pray for peace. pic.twitter.com/Wzmkfpry6j
— Sister Bethany, fsp (@SrBethanyFSP) May 31, 2020
Sister Tracey Dugas, a Pauline sister in Chicago and director of the Pauline mission advancement, stopped by The Drew Mariani Show™ earlier this week to discuss the events of Saturday and the aftermath of the looting.
Sr. Tracey told Drew that the sisters did do some preparation prior to Saturday’s events. She said, “We have good friends around the city and and some of them actually live in the apartments above Michigan Avenue. And in the later part of the evening, around nine o’clock, they started to let us know that they were noticing acts of violence and vandalism along Michigan Avenue. To keep aware and be vigilant. And so we kind of just prepared ourselves for a bit, but also thinking that there might be a long night.”
As the events unfolded late into the night, Sr. Tracey explained that the sisters kept an ear out for news of where the rioting was taking place, not sure if their building would be affected.
“We’ve been here for a good number of years, here in Chicago,” she said. “So it was just shocking to know that they were making their way, not sure if they were coming into the building or not.”
Unlike many of the shops along the Magnificent Mile, Pauline Books and Media is not simply a store, but also a ministry center, and the sisters’ convent is in the same building.
Sr. Tracey explained, “As sisters, this is a sacred space, this is holy ground, and we have a chapel. And obviously our convent is not on the same level of the book ministry, but we’re in the same building. So obviously there was a lot of concern for our own safety. So we just tried to be vigilant and be aware throughout the night.”
One would think that such devastating destruction would cause anger, bitterness, or resentment. But in the following days the sisters posted a photo of them clearing up the wreckage – with big smiles on their faces in front of a group who came to help out.
— Sister Anne (@nunblogger) June 1, 2020
“We just experienced the kindness of these people who were basically on the lookout to be helpers, to help.” Sr. Tracey explained. “We just started working and they were the ones who stopped. And we had three or four different groups of people that stopped. I think what we were feeling was the joy of coming together to right a wrong.”
Several of the Daughters of St. Paul tweeted in the following days encouraging their followers to pray for peace and pray for the conversion of those who caused the damage. And rather than letting this event get them down, they are eager to return to their work, recognizing even more the need to bring Christ to our wounded world.
“It is damage that can be repaired,” Sr. Tracey told Drew. “So we’re in that process of just estimating what costs will be. And especially being a nonprofit mission, these are not things that are in the budget, if you will. But we are doing our best to gather resources so that we can rebuild what needs to be rebuilt, make safe what needs to be made safe, so that we can open our doors and minister to people one-on-one, like we do every day.”
Listen to the full conversation with Sr. Tracy below: