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Chainsaw-wielding nun helps clear debris after Hurricane Irma

Sister Margaret Ann of Miami took to the streets with a chainsaw to clear a path for her neighbors.
/ Source: TODAY

Nuns are in the habit of helping out, but Sister Margaret Ann of Miami took good deeds to the next level when she grabbed a chainsaw and hit the streets to clean up after Hurricane Irma.

Sister Margaret Ann, the principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in west Miami, became an internet sensation on Tuesday when the Miami-Dade Police Department shared a Facebook video of her — in full tunic and veil — sawing away at downed trees and other debris blocking a roadway in the school's neighborhood.

Officer Silvia Nadal, 41, told TODAY she was off-duty when she spotted the nun, who spent three hours in the simmering heat clearing half a block near the school.

"She is truly an example of what a servant of God will do. It was just incredible," said Nadal, whose husband, Jose, is also an officer for the Miami-Dade PD.

"I had just happened to walk outside to see what the damage was. My husband was working because he's a police officer too, so I was home alone with the kids."

Nadal cautioned Sister Margaret Ann that using a chainsaw was dangerous, and let her know the Miami-Dade Police Department was sending crews to cut the trees.

"She said, 'We have no exit.' East and west was completely blocked up. She goes, ‘I can do it,'" recalled Nadal, a 10-year veteran in the department.

The officer and mom of three decided to share a video of Sister Margaret Ann because she wanted her hard work to be appreciated.

"You have no idea, it was like 100 degrees outside and she was wearing her habit. I was in shorts and a T-shirt and I was sweating," Nadal told TODAY.

Nadal said neighbors eventually joined Sister Margaret Ann, and together the group created enough space to allow their cars to get in and out of the neighborhood.

"She had a plan and she accomplished it," said Nadal. "It's amazing."

Sister Margaret Ann shrugged off all the fuss, telling MSNBC, "We just needed to get the trees out of the way so that cars could pass by safely."

"It was a dangerous situation and I just wanted to be able to help out the neighbors and clear the roadway for everybody. That's all that it was," she said.

Hurricane Irma, which blasted through Florida over the weekend, caused heavy damage to the high school's cooling tower, a building on the pavilion and its baseball field. The school, like many others in Florida, was forced to close in Irma's aftermath due to unsafe conditions.

"We've got a lot of work to do to get the school ready for the students to come back and also many of our students do not have power so they're struggling as well, but we'll get through," said the no-nonsense nun.

However, Officer Nadal believes in times of crisis, people like Sister Margaret Ann help to inspire others — and that's a huge boon to anyone in law enforcement.

"For the Miami-Dade Police Department to see people like that helping the community, it's a pleasure. If everybody waits for us to do everything, how much can we accomplish?" said the officer. "Our department has done an amazing job, but with people like her, it makes it much easier for everybody."