Fifty-nine nuns test positive for COVID-19 at two convents

Fifty-nine nuns belonging to two convents in Rome are said to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Forty of the sisters belong to the Daughters of San Camillo convent on the outskirts of Rome, while 19 of the 21 sisters from the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul convent in Rome are reportedly infected.

Local authorities have been informed and an investigation has been launched into how the infections came about.

The San Camillo convent specifically cares for young students and elderly sisters.

The survival of the 40 sisters diagnosed with the COVID-19 is of concern, as the median age of those who die in Italy is below the average age of many convents and religious communities in Europe.

The speed of the virus’s spread within the religious houses is similar to an outbreak in a US nursing home in Kirkland, Washington.

So far 35 people at the nursing home have died, representing over 60 percent of the country’s total COVID-19 cases.

Despite the rate of infection, the general postulator of the Daughters of San Camillo says overall “we are fine,”.

Three of the 40 infected nuns are hospitalized, while the others are not showing serious symptoms and are at home in the convent.

The general postulator also notes that despite the number of infected nuns being made public, “we don’t know how many positive cases we have. We are still testing,”.

The convent was not notified before the numbers were shared with the public, she says.

On the bright side, she comments, the sisters are nurses, so “we are prepared to face health risks and take care of the sick.”

The situation at the two convents has drawn attention to the situation facing religious congregations across the world.

In many cases the often very elderly religious live in close contact with each other, and their order’s apostolates can bring them into contact with the general public.

Cardinal João Braz, who is the prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, has written to religious around the world.

He urged them to obey both civil and ecclesial authorities during the pandemic.

The “most effective witness we can give is first of all a serene and committed obedience to what is demanded by those who govern us, both at the state and ecclesial level, to all that is disposed to safeguard our health, both as private citizens and as a community,” he wrote.

He encouraged all religious to offer “concrete signs of closeness to our people,” at a time when public celebration of the sacraments have been put on hold in most parts of the globe in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,