When a pair of thieves decided to victimize a charity, they likely thought they had the upper hand. Unfortunately for them, they would quickly realize they had underestimated an elderly nun — and it was all caught on video.
Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz, the director of the Response to Love Center – a faith-based charity that assists the impoverished in Buffalo, New York, woke up early to pray on a Saturday morning as she routinely did, but this time, she heard an unusual commotion outside on Kosciuszko Street. Perplexed by the sound, Sister Johnice went to investigate, and that’s when she realized that the charity was being targeted by thieves.
As Sister Johnice headed outside to search for the source of the noise that had disrupted her early morning prayer, she discovered a ladder, and it quickly became evident that two thieves had used it to climb onto the roof of the charity, hoping to steal copper pipes, according to The Blaze. Unfortunately for the thieves, Sister Johnice wasn’t about to let “God’s property” be so blatantly disrespected.
“I opened the door and there was the ladder right in front of my doorway,” Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz recalled, according to Buffalo News. “So, I opened the door and saw a ladder — here’s a ladder over here, and I walked out, and I looked up, and said, ‘Get out of here. How dare you do this to God’s property — this is his mission!'” Sister Johnice told WKBW.
In an attempt to thwart the robbery, Sister Johnice summoned all of her strength to kick and yank the ladder off of the building, doing a bit of praying at the same time. That’s about the time at least one of the would-be robbers realized that he and his buddy had grossly underestimated the 76-year-old nun and the power of prayer as he found himself stranded on the roof.
“I saw the ladder. I saw the guy. I threw the ladder down, which was huge as could be, and lo and behold, they ran away,” Sister Johnice said, later admitting, “When I took that ladder and knocked it down — I amazed myself when I see it now.” Although Sister Johnice said she could “feel the evil,” she said she was “fearless” because her “adrenaline was going.”
The vandal who was left stranded on the roof managed to jump down and take off running, while Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz prayed that he would not get injured. Later, the Response to Love Center shared photos of the suspects on its Facebook page, asking for the public’s help in identifying the would-be thieves, who they referred to as “morons” since they were likely trying to steal copper downspouts from the center. Unfortunately, someone else had already beaten them to it. After vandals stole the copper downspouts years ago, they were replaced with aluminum downspouts “worth only pennies.”
“[T]hese two morons decided to climb up on the building at Response to Love Center to strip our building of our gutters and downspouts to make a few bucks at the scrap yard, thinking our downspouts are made of copper,” read the Facebook post written by Mike Gilhooly, the assistant director at the Response to Love Center. “Well too bad they are made of aluminum worth only pennies. Meanwhile, Sister Johnice hollered and kicked out the ladder from under them and commandeered the ladder. She’s one tough cookie.”
The nun has decided to keep the ladder, which she now calls “Jacob’s ladder” after the Bible story in which Jacob dreams about a ladder stretching from heaven to earth. The center never had a ladder large enough to reach the roof, she said. Plus, it serves as the perfect reminder of the ordeal that left her praying for the suspects, who she described as “greedy,” “selfish,” and “broken.”
“Every day I’ve been praying for these two thugs,” Sister Johnice said. “I’m sure desperation did it,” the fearless nun added, referring to the suspects’ actions. “You know it’s only gutters — it’s only pipes, but what if it’s a life? But God does not want this to be a battlefield for people — a fearful place,” she continued.
Perhaps what makes this incident even worse for the caring nun is that the suspects didn’t need to attempt to steal out of desperation. Instead, “They could have come here for food or clothing. They could have come for a kind word, some guidance, but they chose a different route,” Sister Johnice said. “That is not of God, that is evil. I just wish I could meet them.”