Thank You, Sister: Florida Nun Grabs Chainsaw to Help Clear Debris After Hurricane Irma

"We just needed to get the trees out of the way so that cars could pass by safely," Sister Margaret Ann says

A Florida nun forewent divine intervention and took matters into her own hands, using a chainsaw to help clear downed trees while dressed in her full habit.

Miami-Dade police posted video on social media of Sister Margaret Ann at work in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The video was taken by an off-duty officer who came across her.

Police say the nun was cutting trees to clear the roadways around Archbishop Coleman Carrol High School near Miami. Sister Margaret Ann is the school's principal, according to its website.

"We just needed to get the trees out of the way so that cars could pass by safely," Sister Margaret Ann said Wednesday during a Skype interview on MSNBC. "It was a dangerous situation and I just wanted to be able to help out the neighbors and clear the roadway for everybody."

The high school lost many trees and sustained damage to the baseball field backstop and a building in the pavilion, she said.

"We've got a lot of work to do to get the school ready for the students to come back," Sister Margaret Ann said, adding that many of their students are struggling because they do not have power.

The goal is to reopen the school on Monday, said the nun, but the timing depends on when the cooling tower is repaired. Without it, condensation in the building makes the floors slippery and unsafe for students.

Alumni, students and parents came to help the nuns with the yard work.

"We're basically teachers, but when it's situations like this, we do whatever we can to help out," she said. "Our sisters, Carmelite Sisters, we do whatever we can, whether it's putting a Band-Aid on or fixing a ponytail for the younger children. Whatever it takes is what we do."

Sister Margaret Ann is stationed in Miami along with seven other Carmelite nuns from Alhambra, California.

Police say "acts of kindness" like Sister Margaret Ann's remind residents that they're all part of the same community. The department added in its post, "Thank you Sister and all of our neighbors that are working together to get through this!"


NBC's Katie Warren contributed to this story.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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