From April 10, which was Good Friday, to May 10, twelve sisters ranging in age from 69 to 99 died of COVID-19 at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia. A 13th sister, Sister Mary Danatha Suchyta, died of the disease on June 27 at age 98.
Sister Mary Danatha had been a member of the Felician congregation for 80 years, and all 13 who died were members for at least 50 years, according to a list provided by Suzanne English, executive director for mission advancement for Our Lady of Hope Province, which oversees the 469 Felician sisters in about 60 convents around the U.S. and Canada.
“We grieve for each of our sisters who has 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,” said Sister Mary Christopher Moore, provincial minister of Our Lady of Hope.
Forty-four Felician sisters now live at the Michigan convent, down from 57 in April, English said.
Another 17 sisters had the disease but they all recovered.
“We all knew if it hit the place, it would be bad,” Sister Mary Ann Smith, who was sick with the virus from mid-April until the end of May, told the Global Sisters Report. “But we never anticipated how quickly it would go.”
She told the outlet that when she was ill with a disease she prayed to God to take her life.
“I was so sick, I would pray the Lord would take me,” Sister Mary Ann said. “I was in so much pain.”