Notre Dame tragedy hits home for local Franciscan

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – While the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral burned in Paris for several hours Monday, people around the world watched in disbelief. That includes some of the Sisters of Saint Francis at Assisi Heights in Rochester.

Part of Sister Jennifer Corbett’s heart belongs in France. Her mother was born there, her cousins live there, and she knows a lot about the history of Notre Dame. As a young girl, she had a great book filled with the cathedral’s history, which she took to heart.

Sister Jennifer Corbett

Sister Jennifer first learned about the fire from a cellphone alert. Like many people watching the scene unfold either on their cellphone or television, Sister Jennifer couldn’t believe that what she was seeing was actually happening.

“People know this (Notre Dame) is irreplaceable. I mean, it might be rebuilt, but something of the loss of it is a loss of soul, beauty, faith… which that church, like many church represents, is this great long faith of ordinary people,” she said.

As the structure burned, hundreds could be heard singing hymns while kneeling in front of the Parisian cathedral.

French President Emmanuel Macron vows Notre Dame will be rebuilt. He’s launching an international fundraising campaign to do so.

Shannon Rousseau

Shannon Rousseau

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