Clear & Present Danger

The sisters of Holy Name Monastery in St. Leo, Florida, suspected something was wrong when their checks started bouncing last November. Twenty-two checks came back marked RETURN TO MAKER, which has a certain theological ring to it. Deeper worry set in once the sisters realized their bank account wasn’t accepting deposits either. Unaccustomed to such financial hiccups, the sisters immediately asked the bank for an explanation, and were told that their account was frozen by mandate of the Patriot Act. Apparently, once bank officials realized they were missing the Social Security number and photo I.D. of a signatory on the account, an eighty-year-old sister, they felt compelled by the law to put the monastery’s finances on lockdown. Never mind that none of the other sisters had ever been asked to put such information on file. “We’ve been in business 116 years,” Sr. Jean Abbot told the Tampa Tribune, “no one’s ever asked us.”

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