'We Had Six Women Die in 48 Hours'

A COVID outbreak claims the lives of nine Michigan nuns
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2021 4:38 PM CST
'We Had Six Women Die in 48 Hours'
This photo shows the motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.   (Mike Dickie/The Daily Telegram via AP)

A COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan has claimed the lives of nine nuns, CNN reports. The women, who were living at the Motherhouse campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, ranged in age from 81 to 94 and died between Jan. 11 and Jan. 26. Most were at high risk due to existing health conditions according to reports. “It’s numbing," Sister Patricia Siemen, who leads the religious order, tells the New York Times. “We had six women die in 48 hours.” Speaking to WDIV, Siemen says: “We spent nine months keeping the coronavirus at bay. Right before Christmas, it slipped in.”

Of 217 residents at the campus, 48 have tested positive for COVID, according to a statement, and there were 13 active cases and 26 residents who had recovered. Among the 363 workers at the campus, 60 people tested positive, with 15 active cases and 45 recoveries. The campus had been following strict safety precautions, including barring visitors and requiring masks. In July, 13 nuns at a convent in Livonia, Mich., died from COVID. In December, the virus claimed eight nuns at a retirement home in Milwaukee. Calling nuns the “real grassroots workers of the church,” University of Rochester Catholic Studies professor Jack Downey tells the Times, “nun communities passing like this becomes particularly tragic.” (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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