Since Dec. 9, eight nuns at School Sisters of Notre Dame have died from COVID-19 complications, four of whom died on the same day

By Julie Mazziotta
December 18, 2020 01:48 PM
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Eight nuns at School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province died of COVID-19
| Credit: School Sisters of Notre Dame

Within a week, eight nuns at a Wisconsin convent have died from COVID-19 complications — four on the same day.

The sisters, who live among 80 other nuns at School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province in Elm Grove, outside of Milwaukee, have died since Dec. 9, according to TMJ4 News. Other sisters at the convent are currently infected with COVID-19, but the exact number has not been reported.

CNN confirmed the names of the sisters who died, which were listed on the convent's obituary page: Sister Mary Elva Wiesner, Sister Joan Emily Kaul, Sister Lillia Langreck, Sister Michael Marie Laux, Sister Mary Alexius Portz, Sister Dorothy MacIntyre, Sister Cynthia Borman and Sister Rose M. Feess.

The women were all “role models,” Debra Sciano, provincial leader of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific, told TMJ4.

“For me, these are wisdom figures — women I have known for all of my 40 plus years in the community,” she said. “Every one of our sisters is really important, not only to us but feel they have touched a lot of lives we'll never be aware of.”

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The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province said that the sisters have been following CDC precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

"We're being extra careful in terms of getting their meals in rooms and they can't congregate together," Sciano said. "More testing, being tested twice a week for the virus."

The convent was originally created in 1859 as an orphanage but is now a home for elderly and ill nuns, according to its website.

Their deaths come seven months after six nuns at a nearby convent, Our Lady of the Angels in Greenfield, Wisconsin, died from COVID-19. The facility is a home for retired nuns from the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the School Sisters of St. Francis, also in the Milwaukee area.

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