Mother Dolores Hart finds it miraculous that she was able to turn one kiss with Elvis Presley into the spark that helped save an abbey.
The former starlet who walked away from Hollywood in 1963 to become a nun spun her tale into a fundraising campaign for her crumbling monastery in rural Connecticut.
But the pot boiler about Presley’s first on-screen kiss and the girl who turned from the screen to sisterhood has done more than keep open the doors of Abbey of Regina Laudis. It has inspired new interest in its monastic work.
Now she and the other nuns hope to raise up to $9 million to restore the order’s former brass factory for future generations. They have already raised $3 million.
Mother Dolores, now 76, first shared her story with The Associated Press in 2011 as she and about 40 other members of her Benedictine order faced the possibility that their abbey in Bethlehem would close
Fire officials had found numerous fire code and safety issues in what was a ramshackle collection of factory buildings, barns and sheds that were linked together in 1947 after the nuns purchased the old industrial site.
Mother Dolores went on to write an autobiography, embark on a speaking tour, and make TV appearances. In 2012, she returned to Hollywood to attend the Academy Awards when a documentary short about her life, God is the Bigger Elvis, was nominated for an Oscar.
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