Can Anybody Help a Sister Out? CHP Tweet Helps Nuns Get New Van

What to Know

  • The nuns broke down on the 605 Freeway in April, with some having to push it off lanes with help from CHP.
  • A CHP officer tweeted: "Can anybody help a sister out?" and donations rolled in.
  • The nuns thanked CHP by bringing lunch by the station - in the new van.

You might call it divine intervention.

When a van belonging to a group of nuns broke down on the 605 Freeway in Santa Fe Springs the middle of rush hour traffic in April, they prayed. 

"It was because of the officers that we were taken to safety actually because didn't know what to do," Sister Michelle of the Carmelite Sisters of Santa Teresita in Duarte said. She was behind the wheel when their 19-year-old Dodge Caravan para-transit minivan stalled.

Inside the van were four more sisters and a visiting priest from India they had just picked up at LAX.

Their prayers and their 911 call lead to California Highway Patrol Officer Dean Warren to arrive. He helped use his patrol car to push the sisters' van from the freeway.

"Sister Michelle did an outstanding job because that's a heavy car, and an old heavy car and I pushed her about a mile," he said.

Then, almost by a small miracle, a second CHP officer arrived.

"Lord sent him, too," Sister Michelle said. "For another person's traffic violation and he came over and asked what was happening and he asked if he was able to take some pictures." 

Those pictures became the smiling selfies that lead to dozens of donors learning about the sisters' car troubles - and donating the money to buy them a brand new Dodge Caravan para-transit vehicle.

"Social media is such a powerful tool," Officer Jeremy Tolen, who took that photo, said. "My first thought was, 'Why don't we use this social media as a tool for positive, a tool for good and help the sisters out?'"

"There's a lot of positive things in the world. There's a lot of positive people, and a lot of good people," said Sister Mary James, who is one of the sisters\ who needs the van to get her motorized scooter from place to place.

The nuns arrived in their new van to CHP's Santa Fe Springs station Wednesday to once again say thank you - and they brought lunch.  

"It's nice to be recognized and to see that what we did made a difference," Warren said. "Plus we get a good lunch out of it!"

And to those who donated their money to make it happen, the sisters offered a special blessing: "We want to say God reward you and be assured of our prayers because we have been praying." 

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