The following comes from a February Southern Cross article by Denis Grasska:
SAN DIEGO — The local Pauline Books and Media, which has been part of the San Diego Catholic community for 60 years, is scheduled to close on May 14.
One of a chain of 13 Catholic bookstores nationwide operated by the Daughters of St. Paul, the store sells Catholic books, films, music and religious articles. It has been struggling financially in recent years.
Co-founded by Blessed Father James Alberione and Mother Thecla Merlo, the Daughters of St. Paul were established in 1915 in northern Italy. From the beginning, the order’s charism included the use of media to spread the Gospel.
The sisters arrived in the United States in 1932. After beginning to publish English-language Catholic books, they started opening Pauline Books and Media stores in the 1950s. In 1956, they came to San Diego, where they established a convent and bookstore at the corner of 5th Avenue and Cedar Street.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, the store [at its current location on Balboa Avenue] began feeling “an economic pinch,” said Sister Marie James Hunt, whose position as local superior of the Daughters of St. Paul has placed the store under her direction. At that time, the sisters considered moving to a different location where the rent would be lower. Ultimately, she said, the store’s current landlords were willing to renovate the building, reducing the physical space of the store as well as the rent.
Sister Hunt said the sisters made “an all-out effort” to ascertain how the store might better serve the Local Church. But, in 2013, they wrote a letter to the diocese’s pastors and loyal customers to inform them that, if the store’s financial difficulties could not be reversed within the next two years, it would close.
A more recent letter during the second week of January announced the store’s closing. A liquidation sale is set to begin on April 25.
“I’m heartbroken to be honest with you,” Sister Hunt said, noting that she visits the store twice a month and, “as a young sister,” had lived at the former convent at 5th and Cedar. She added that, among the store’s regular customers, “some are in shock” and many have come in “wishing us well but also expressing their sorrow to see us go.”