Eight nuns living at a retirement home for sisters in suburban Milwaukee died of COVID-19 complications in the past week—four of them on the same day, according to the congregation that runs the home. The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province said other sisters who live at Notre Dame of Elm Grove have also been diagnosed with COVID-19, but the international congregation of women declined to provide additional details, citing the residents' privacy. "All CDC guidelines are being followed regarding the care of sisters affected by COVID-19 and to avoid spread of the virus, including wearing masks, social distancing and handwashing," the School Sisters of Notre Dame said in a statement, the AP reports. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the sisters, their caregivers and families. We invite you to join us in prayer for all those affected by the pandemic."
The outbreak comes months after similar homes for the aging religious had reported multiple deaths from the coronavirus. In July, 13 nuns died at a convent near Detroit and seven died at a center for Maryknoll sisters in New York. At least six nuns also died at Our Lady of the Angels convent in Greenfield, Wisconsin—a home that provides memory care for nuns of the School Sisters of St. Francis and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Convents share some of the same issues as nursing homes, which are the US sector hit hardest by COVID-19. In many cases, their populations are elderly and live in close quarters. The Elm Grove congregation's website said Sisters Cynthia Borman, Joan Emily Kaul, Lillia Langreck, and Michael Marie Laux died on Monday. Sister Mary Alexius Portz died Sunday. Sister Dorothy MacIntyre died on Dec. 11, and Sisters Rose M. Feess and Mary Elva Wiesner died Dec. 9.