Why Over A Dozen Nuns From The Same Convent Died At The Same Time Will…

In a Roman Catholic convent nestled in the heart of Michigan, there lived thirteen nuns who dedicated their lives to the service of others. They were all part of the Felician Sisters convent, a place where they lived, prayed, and worked together in harmony. Little did they know that fate would soon deal them a heartbreaking hand.

One day, the invisible enemy known as COVID-19 infiltrated the walls of their sanctuary. As the virus spread through the convent like wildfire, the sisters fell ill one after another. The month that followed would forever be etched in the memories of the surviving nuns as a time of unspeakable tragedy.

The nuns who succumbed to the virus ranged in age from sixty-nine to ninety-nine, and each had left her own indelible mark on the world. Among them were teachers, an author, and even a secretary for the Vatican Secretariat of State. Their loss would be deeply felt, not only by their fellow sisters but also by the countless lives they had touched.

The Global Sisters Report would later declare that this devastating loss of life marked the worst tragedy to befall a community of women religious since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Indeed, it had been more than a century since such a deadly viral outbreak had struck.

The sisters’ advanced age and close-knit lifestyle made them especially vulnerable to the virus. It was as if their unyielding bond, once their greatest strength, had now become their greatest weakness. The deadly pathogen was unwittingly carried into their midst by two aides who, unaware of their infection, had not been tested for the virus. Much like the nursing homes and other facilities that housed the elderly, the convent became a breeding ground for ruthless disease.

For a harrowing month, the sisters watched helplessly as their friends and mentors succumbed to COVID-19. Every other day, a beloved sister passed away, and in total, thirteen lives were lost. Eighteen more contracted the virus but managed to survive, forever grateful for the second chance that had been granted to them.

In the midst of this heartache, the sisters were faced with another cruel reality: they were forbidden from attending the funerals of their fallen comrades. Health guidelines and the risk of transmission forced them to grieve from a distance, unable to celebrate the lives of these remarkable women or give them the send-off they so richly deserved.

The darkest days in the convent’s history fell between April 10 and May 10, when twelve nuns lost their lives to the virus. A thirteenth sister would join them on June 27.

Noel Marie Gabriel, the director of clinical health services for the Felician Sisters of North America, recounted this painful period with a heavy heart:

“We couldn’t contain the grief and the sorrow and the emotional impact. 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.”

Sadly, the Felician Sisters’ convent was not alone in its suffering. Across the country, many more nuns succumbed to the virus, though the exact number remains unknown. The story of these sisters serves as a somber reminder of the pandemic’s far-reaching consequences and the importance of protecting ourselves and those around us.

So, as you go about your day, remember the tale of the thirteen nuns and the terrible price they paid. Wear your mask, and let their story be a testament to the power of compassion and unity in the face of adversity.

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Sources: AWM, Catholicherald, Insider

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