LIVONIA, Mich. – A convent outside Detroit faces devastating losses from COVID-19. Thirteen sisters have died from the coronavirus – with a dozen passing away in just one month.
The nuns were members of the Felician Sisters convent in Livonia.
The first death was on April 10, Good Friday, when a 99-year-old sister succumbed to the virus, CNN reports. Eleven other nuns would die by May 10. The youngest victim was 69 years old.
The 13th sister initially survived the virus but died from its effects in June.
The women were among about 50 nuns who live and work on the 360-acre campus.
“We couldn’t contain the grief and the sorrow and the emotional impact,” Sr. Noel Marie Gabriel, director of clinical health services for the Felician Sisters of North America, told the Global Sisters Report. “We went through the motions of doing what we had to do, but that month was like a whole different way of life. That was our most tragic time. It was a month of tragedy and sorrow and mourning and grieving.”
The nonprofit publication, which covers issues facing Catholic sisters and those they serve, said the 13 deaths “may be the worst loss of life to a community of women religious (sic) since the 1918 influenza pandemic.”
According to the Global Sisters Report, at the beginning of the pandemic in March, the convent implemented a no-visitors rule and restricted group activities but the virus spread swiftly through the convent in April.
17-sisters survived the virus, but many of them are still suffering.