Coronavirus Strikes Two Italian Convents, Infecting 59 Nuns

Nuns wearing a face mask wait outside the closed Monumental Cemetery of Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 20, 2020 during the country's lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP) (Photo by PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images)

ROME — Two Italian convents have been placed under strict quarantine after a majority of the nuns living in them tested positive for the coronavirus.

A total of 59 religious sisters have been infected in the two convents, one of which is located in Rome and the other in the town of Grottaferrata in the Castelli Romani district just southeast of Rome.

Forty of the 50 members of the Daughters of Saint Camillus convent in Grottaferrata have tested positive for the disease, and one of them has been hospitalized. The congregation of the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul in Rome has also been isolated after 19 of its 21 sisters were found to be infected with the coronavirus.

“We are also wondering what to do. We are also trying to understand the situation. We are receiving many calls and the superior is very busy handling the emergency and cannot speak. But we are fine, we hope to issue a communiqué when the situation is clearer,” a Camillian sister told the ANSA news service by phone.

The Daughters of Saint Camillus was founded in 1892, and the sisters make a fourth vow of service to the poor.

“The specialty of the Camillian charism is to serve the sick even at the risk of our life. It constitutes the essential aspect of our mission,” the order’s website states.

The Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul was founded in Milan in the 16th century, and their Rome convent hosts a kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school. The spread of the coronavirus to the convent occurred, however, after all schools in Rome had been closed.

In Italy, at least two Catholic nuns have died from COVID-19. Two bishops have also tested positive for the disease, though one has since recovered.

At least 28 priests have died in Italy from COVID-19.

Others have run afoul of the law for continuing to celebrate the sacraments despite a ban on all gatherings in the country.

The parish priest of the northern Italian town of Cuasso al Monte was denounced by the carabinieri military police for celebrating Mass with some 30 members of the faithful present, despite the prohibition imposed by the ministerial decree for the containment of the spread of coronavirus.

The carabinieri police denounced another priest in the southern town of San Gennaro Vesuviano, near Naples, for celebrating the baptism of a child with four other people present, including the child’s parents.


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