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COVID-19 kills 13 nuns in Michigan convent

COVID-19 kills 13 nuns in Michigan convent
The Livonia, Mich., convent is one of six large convents for Felician sisters in North America. File Photo by Dave Parker/Wikimedia Commons

July 23 (UPI) -- Thirteen Felician sisters at a Michigan convent have died from COVID-19, 12 in a one-month span, and another six weeks later.

The sisters were part of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, Mich., located about 20 miles west of Detroit, which had another 17 sisters who caught the virus, but recovered.

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"We all knew if it hit the place, it would be bad," Sister Mary Ann Smith, who recovered from the virus, told the Global Sisters Report. "But we never anticipated how quickly it would go."

A dozen sisters, ranging in ages from 69 to 99, died at the convent from April 10 to May 10. The 13th Felician sister to die from COVID-19, Sister Mary Danatha Suchyta, 98, died six weeks later, on June 27.

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Suchyta had been a member of the Felician congregation for eight decades, and all 13 who died had been members for at least 50 years, according to a list from Suzanne English, executive director for mission advancement for Our Lady of Hope Province.

Our Lady of Hope Province represents a community formerly known as the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Felix of Cantalice, according to the website, that has 469 Felician sisters in convents in North America.

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"We grieve for each of our sisters who passed during the time of the pandemic throughout the province, and we greatly appreciate all of those who are holding us in prayer and supporting us in a number of ways," Our Lady of Hope Provincial Minister Sister Mary Christopher Moore said.

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Out of six large convents for the Felicians in North America, only convents in Livonia, and Lodi, N.J., had COVID-19 cases, according to the Global Sisters Report. In Lodi, there were 12 COVID-19 cases and one death from the virus.

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