The story in RNS: 

When the Daughters of St. Paul received permission from Chicago’s then-Cardinal John Cody to open a bookstore in downtown Chicago in 1979, they hurried to make it happen in time for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the city later that year.

By the time the pope’s motorcade drove down Michigan Avenue that October, the first floor of an old storefront had been successfully converted into Pauline Books and Media, and the pope’s books lined the front windows. Above the display the sisters unfurled a huge banner across the front of the building: “We love you, John Paul II.”

Over the next four decades, the store — formerly a haberdashery that had once welcomed the likes of Liberace, Muhammad Ali and former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley — would become legendary in its own right.

The decision to close the location, steps from iconic landmarks like Millennium Park, came much more slowly.

After six years of prayer and outside consultation, and a shove from the COVID-19 pandemic, the order has decided to reconfigure its presence across the United States and Toronto, according to Sister Tracey Matthia Dugas, director of Pauline mission advancement. That means closing four locations in the U.S., including the Chicago book center and the convent above it.

“Technology shifts often, and our mission demands that we use the most modern and efficacious means (to reach out to people),” said Dugas, 50, who has been stationed in Chicago since 2018.

The Chicago sisters celebrated a closing Mass over the weekend at the nearby Assumption Catholic Church.

The book center will close Sept. 24; the convent on the three floors above it, soon after. Two of the four Chicago sisters are bound for the mother house in Boston; the other two for St. Louis, according to Dugas.

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