Nun who kissed Elvis helps save monastery

In this Friday, May 15, 2015 photo, Mother Dolores Hart poses for a photograph at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, in Bethlehem, Conn. Mother Dolores, a former actress who is best known for sharing the first on-screen kiss with Elvis Presley, has helped the Abbey which is in need of renovations gain exposure and aid from fans of Presley. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

BETHLEHEM, Conn. (AP) – The Benedictine nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis believe a financial miracle saved the monastery four years ago, helped along by the story of the starlet who kissed Elvis then gave up Hollywood to become one of them.

They are hoping the continued publicity will now help them complete a $9 million project to renovate their abbey for future generations.

Mother Dolores Hart gave the King his first onscreen kiss in the 1957 film “Loving You.” She has become a popular speaker since going public with her story in 2011, when the monastery was faced with the possibility of closing because of fire and safey code violations.

The nuns raised enough money to fix those problems and are now $3 million into a fundraising campaign to renovate the abbey for future generations.

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