8 nuns die of COVID-19 in last week at Wisconsin convent
December 18, 2020
ELM GROVE, Wis. — Eight nuns living at a retirement home for sisters in suburban Milwaukee died of COVID-19 complications in the last week — including four who passed away on the same day — a grim reminder of how quickly the virus can spread in congregate living situations, even when precautions are taken.
Notre Dame of Elm Grove had been free of the virus for the last nine months, but the congregation that runs the home found out on Thanksgiving Day that one of the roughly 100 sisters who live there had tested positive. Despite social distancing and other mitigation efforts that were already in place, several more positive tests followed, said Sister Debra Marie Sciano, the provincial leader for School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province.
The first death happened last week, and the death announcements kept coming. Four of the eight nuns died on Monday alone, a difficult situation for other sisters in the home and members of the broader congregation, who consider each other family.