The news was devestating for Sister of St. Dominic of Amityville Dolores Christi Gartanutti. On Monday, August 31, her house burned to the ground when she left to bring Holy Communion to her 90+ year-old friend. An hour later, her home was destroyed and her dog Danny Boy passed away in the explosion.
But rising from the ashes are signs of hope. Her friend Erin Orjuela Radziewicz is raising funds to help S. Dolores (Dee) rebuild her home. This is especially meaningful since Dee gave Erin a home years ago. Erin was one of the first people to live with S. Dee as part of a ministry Dee founded in 1974 called Noah's Ark, a foster home in Richmond Hill, Queens. In this ministry that spanned more than 20 years, S. Dee helped nearly 2,000 adolescents.
Erin's "Go Fund Me" page has raised more than $24,000 to help rebuild a handicap-accessible home at the same location. Funds will also go to furnish the new space as well as clear the land of debris. The goal is to raise $150,000.
"I had been homeless for three days when I met Dee," recalled Erin. "In addition to her giving me a safe place to live and continue my education, she loved me into being."
In 1997, Dee retired to Parksville to her cabin. Although she is "retired," she continues to work with adults in a detox center and to help children in the court system.
"If we get even half of the support Dee has given to countless people over her lifespan we will have more than we need," stated Erin.
For more information, please visit the Go Fund Me Page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/resurrection-of-dee039s-cabin.