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COVID-19: Thirteen nuns from U.S. Michigan convent die, deadly wave claimed 12 in one month, left over 12 seriously ill

  • The nuns, who lived together at the Felician Sisters’ convent in Livonia, Michigan, were all aged between 79 and 99 years of age 
  • Twelve of them died in the one month between April 10 and May 10
  • At the time, 18 other nuns had contracted COVID-19 and were being treated for the virus
  • On June 27, one of the 18 nuns battling the virus also died
  • The nuns lived and worked together – mostly as teachers – at the Livonia convent, which was home to 65 sisters prior to the pandemic 

By Emily Crane For Dailymail.com, Published: 20 July 2020

Thirteen nuns from the same Michigan convent have died from coronavirus in a deadly wave that claimed 12 of them in just one month. 

The nuns, who lived together at the Felician Sisters’ convent in Livonia, were all aged between 79 and 99 years of age. 

Twelve of them died in the one month between April 10 and May 10.

At the time, 18 other nuns had contracted COVID-19 and were being treated for the virus. 

On June 27, one of the 18 nuns battling the virus also died. 

The nuns lived and worked together – mostly as teachers – at the Livonia convent, which was home to 65 sisters prior to the pandemic.Sister Mary Luiza Wawrzyniak, 99, was the first to die on April 10

Sr. Celine Marie Lesinski, 92, died two days later on April 12

Sister Mary Luiza Wawrzyniak, 99, was the first to die on April 10. Sr. Celine Marie Lesinski, 92, died two days later on April 12

Sister Mary Andrew Budinski, who is the superior of the Livonia convent, told the Sisters Global Report that the virus spread through like ‘wildfire’ after it first struck.  

The nuns at the convent are spread out across three floors, including one dedicated to 24 hour nursing care, one for assisted living and another for independent living.

Visitors were banned from visiting as of March 14 but essential workers, including nurses, aides and dining staff, were still allowed.

The virus spread rapidly after two nursing aides contracted the virus.

‘I first heard two aides had contracted the virus,’ Sister Andrew said.

‘We don’t know who they are, and we don’t want to know. Then it hit sisters on the second floor, and it went through like wildfire.’

Sister Mary Luiza Wawrzyniak, 99, was the first to die on April 10.

Four others followed that week: Sr. Celine Marie Lesinski, 92, and Sr. Mary Estelle Printz, 95, died on April 12; Sr. Thomas Marie Wadowski, 73, on April 15; and Sr. Mary Patricia Pyszynski, 93, on April 17. 

The deaths continued in mid-April when Sr. Mary Clarence Borkoski, 83, died on April 20; Sr. Rose Mary Wolak, 86, died on April 21; and Sr. Mary Janice Zolkowski, 86, passed on April 22.

Sr. Thomas Marie Wadowski, 73, died on April 15

Sr. Mary Estelle Printz, 95, died on April 12 and Sr. Thomas Marie Wadowski, 73, died on April 15

Sr. Mary Clarence Borkoski, 83, died on April 20

Sr. Mary Patricia Pyszynski, 93, died on April 17 and Sr. Mary Clarence Borkoski, 83, died on April 20Sr. Rose Mary Wolak, 86, died on April 21

Sr. Mary Janice Zolkowski, 86, passed on April 22

Sr. Rose Mary Wolak, 86, died on April 21 and Sr. Mary Janice Zolkowski, 86, passed on April 22Sr. Mary Alice Ann Gradowski, 73, died April 25 andSr. Mary Martinez Rozek, 87, died on April 28

Sr. Mary Alice Ann Gradowski, 73, died April 25 and Sr. Mary Martinez Rozek, 87, died on April 28

Sr. Mary Alice Ann Gradowski, 73, died April 25; Sr. Victoria Marie Indyk, 69, died April 26; and Sr. Mary Martinez Rozek, 87, died on April 28.

Sr. Mary Madeleine Dolan, 82, died on May 10 before Sr. Mary Danatha Suchyta, 98, died June 27. 

‘They weren’t giving us numbers,’ Sister Andrew said of those who were dying. 

‘Just every day, they’d say, ‘Another sister.’ ‘Another sister.’ ‘Another sister.’ It was very frightening.’ 

The surviving sisters were unable to attend the 13 funerals due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sr Andrew said they now fear a time when they can gather together again and see the impact of how many have died.   

‘I get chills thinking about that,’ she said. ‘The raw grief is yet to come, I think.’

Sr Andrew, who tested positive for COVID-19 and was ill for a month, said she thought she would die at one point.  

‘I surrendered to that. I said, ‘God, if you’re going to take me, I’m ready.’ Then I woke up the next morning and I was still alive. Then somehow, I got better.’ The nuns at the convent are spread out across three floors, including one dedicated to 24 hour nursing care, one for assisted living and another for independent living

The nuns at the convent are spread out across three floors, including one dedicated to 24 hour nursing care, one for assisted living and another for independent living

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