Students and a few nuns at Omaha’s Mercy High School planned a special surprise for Sister Delores Hannon’s 50th year as a Sister of Mercy — a flash mob.

For weeks, they practiced a dance routine to Sister Dee’s favorite song from her favorite movie — ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” from “Mamma Mia!” And they kept it a secret.

On Friday, Sister Dee, the school’s president, helped students auction off items in the gymnasium to help raise money for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. The auction was part of Mission Week.

Midway through the auction, students spontaneously streamed out from the bleachers onto the gym floor and the music kicked in.

Sister Dee danced alongside the students, who at one point formed hearts with their hands, directed at her.

Three fellow nuns, who live with Sister Dee, danced alongside her.

“I can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve seen the movie,” said Sister Susan Sanders, president of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community. Pointing at Sister Dee, she said, “She thinks she’s Meryl Streep.”

As the song wound down, students surrounded Sister Dee with signs that read “You’re our dancing queen!” and “Happy 50th Jubilee Sister Delores!”

Sister Dee has a reputation as a fun, energetic leader still after 50 years of service. She earned the nickname “Flying Nun” when she went skydiving.

She said she was a bit suspicious in the minutes before the surprise, but she couldn’t figure out exactly what was afoot.

“It was a big rush,” she said, “I’ve always wanted to do a flash mob.”

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