Nuns Who Help Poor in San Francisco Face Eviction

San Francisco Tenderloin (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Two French nuns who have devoted their lives to helping the homeless and downtrodden are now in danger of facing the same fate, as they could soon be evicted from the kitchen and little room they rent in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

Sisters Mary of the Angels and Mary Benedicte of the Nuns Fraternite Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth Soup Kitchen had their rent raised from $3,465 to $5,500 a month as of Jan. 15, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The women reportedly feed lunch to 300 people three times a week, and dinner to 500 people twice a week.

Rising real estate prices have created a growing problem for many non-profits, alongside the Bay Area’s traditional residents. “And as for the nuns — all they want to do is be faithful to what they’ve been called to, and it’s tragic that they may now wind up homeless like the people they serve,” Michael Pappas, head of the San Francisco Interfaith Council told the Chronicle.

The sisters’ attorney, Daniel Fitzpatrick, is fighting the eviction and handling the case pro-bono on the grounds that the soup kitchen is also the nuns’ residence. The women sleep in a small room in the back and make their money from sales of homemade pastries. That money, however, is barely enough to make their rent.

According to Rent Jungle, as of December 2015, the average apartment rent within 10 miles of San Francisco clocks in at $3484.

Evictions have been on the rise in San Francisco, particularly during the past year. Gentrification has also crept into the Bay Area’s traditionally black neighborhoods, forcing out locals and slowly replacing them with Silicon Valley tech elites and professionals who are better able to afford the rising prices.

The sisters’ case should be resolved within a month, Fitzpatrick said. In the meantime, they are continuing with their life as usual, telling the Chronicle, “We are in God’s hands.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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