Eight nuns died from Covid-19 complications last week at a Wisconsin convent – four of whom died the same day.
The monastery, School Sisters of Notre Dame of Elm Grove, located about 10 miles west of Milwaukee, said cases were confirmed among the 88 sisters living in the unit, but did not specify the number, NBC affiliate TMJ4 reported.
Debra Sciano, the provincial leader of the Notre Dame Central Pacific School Sisters, told the station that the eight sisters were all educators and “role models” who dedicated their lives to the community.
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“For me, these are figures of wisdom – women I’ve known for over 40 years in the community,” she said. “Each of our sisters is truly important, not only to us, but she feels that they have touched a lot of lives that we will never be aware of.”
The facility was first set up as an orphanage, which later became a nursing home for elderly and sick sisters, according to the organization’s website.
Across the United States, many health care facilities for the elderly have been devastated by coronavirus.
The congregation said all the sisters followed the public health guidelines presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including wearing masks, social distancing, and regular hand washing.
To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the monastery said it isolates and tests the remaining sisters for Covid-19 twice a week.
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School sisters in the Central Pacific province of Notre Dame did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The deaths came months after 13 sisters died of Covid-19 at a Michigan convent, the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Livonia, about 20 miles west of Detroit.
Less than a week before Christmas, Sciano said the congregation is celebrating with heavy hearts.
“Is there ever an easy time?” she said. “No, but we try to celebrate the lives of these women as we grieve their lives. They will miss the horror. “