No, wait. That’s a joke.
Two nuns walk into a casino.
And that’s no joke.
Late last year the story broke that two nuns, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, not only walked into a casino, they walked into a casino many times, or many casinos many times, which of those doesn’t matter.
What matters is that they embezzled money from their school to play at the casinos.
St. James Catholic School in Torrance, CA.
The money came from tuition, fees and donations.
The amount embezzled was $500,000.
Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana are members of The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, whose mission statement, according to their website, declares they “are committed to respond to the urgent needs of our world.”
Apparently Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana were more interested in responding to the “urgent needs” of their world.
It turns out that the money was easy pickings for Sister Mary Margaret – she was principal of St. James Catholic School for almost 28 years. She handled all checks made out to the school before turning them over to bookkeeping staff for processing.
Except for the checks Sister Mary Margaret withheld and deposited into a secret account, endorsing the back with a stamp that read, “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School.”
Thus flush, Sister Mary Margaret and her best friend, Sister Lana, headed for a, some, or many casinos. They, like their sister sisters, had taken a vow of poverty, so they explained their ability to take these trips as a treat from a rich uncle.
Can’t you just hear the two of them at the poker table?
Sister Mary Margaret: These dead presidents are burning a hole in my pocket!
Sister Lana: Then let’s bet the farm – after all, it’s not our money!
Michael Meyers, the church’s monsignor, said the improper use of the funds had been going on for at least 10 years.
The BFFs both retired in 2018.
Then the story broke, and understandably, the discovery made many members of St. James parish very unhappy. Some parents were considering banding together to act as the complaining party and bring charges.
Because the archdiocese declined to prosecute Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana.
Though at last report, that no-prosecution approach had started changing as more parents came forward after combing through their financial records. Some parents are now saying they believe the money embezzled could add up to more than $3 million.
That’s a lot of dead presidents!
In the meantime, the sisters are deeply remorseful, though it’s a mystery if they’re deeply remorseful about what they did – or that they were caught.
And the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have agreed to pay the school full restitution.
Though where a group of nuns who have taken a vow of poverty will get $500,000+ is another mystery.
And the lesson for all the boys and girls at St. James Catholic school?
That’s no mystery:
Thou shalt not steal…
And get caught.
|Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana (above) and perhaps in the future (below). No worries, Sisters – orange is the new black!|