Now we’re killing the nuns

Catholic nuns are already vanishing from the scene, and now the Coronavirus is killing some of the old ones remaining.

From the website Global Sisters Report:

LIVONIA, MICHIGAN — They were teachers. A librarian. A director of religious education. A secretary in the Vatican Secretariat of State. The author of a 586-page history of the congregation. One was an organist. One helped her second-grade class write and perform a commercial for Campbell’s Soup. One was a nurse and led nursing students’ mission trips to Haiti.

They all belonged to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, or Felician Sisters. They lived commually at a convent in Livonia. And in one month, April 10 to May 10, twelve of them died of COVID-19, and another died in June. The oldest was 99 (four were in their 90s) and the youngest was 69.

The virus also infected 17 other nuns at the convent. Throughout the U.S., at least 19 other nuns have died from the virus.


In general, as I point out in my forthcoming book, Wreckage, Catholic nuns are in fact nearing extinction.  According to a landmark study commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in 1965 there were 180,000 Catholic nuns in the United States, an all-time high.

In  2019, the number had declined by over 75 percent, to about 42,000, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a Catholic research center at Georgetown University.

The average age of all nuns is 74.

“There are more Catholic sisters in the United States over age ninety than under age sixty,” said CARA.

Today, one of the main responsibilities of nuns is taking care of elderly and often infirm sisters in convents, which now often  resemble old-age homes.




    1. I also went to two different Catholic schools.
      I was decidedly a unruly child.
      plagued by an assortment of problems and issues.
      NEVER was I mistreated nor harmed,physically or mentally!
      Always with honest caring and kindness.
      I personally, even now,look at this sisterhood with great respect,which I feel they deserve.
      Perfect they were not…
      But,honest caring,with genuine contributions of their own,time,effort and energy to their calling…
      They collectively should be held up as icons to which modern people,
      so poverty stricken in mind and spirit should strive to emulate.

  1. I suspect underlying anger and a personal agenda in the April 9th remark. While I have my own disagreements with the Catholic Church, I was taught by three orders of Catholic sisters (Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Notre Dame, and Sisters of St. Joseph) from 1st through 12th grades. Not one of those sisters physically punished me or any other students with whom I went to school. A few were unsuitable as teachers–also true of numbers of public school sectarian teachers–but most were good teachers and kind and dedicated women. One of them encouraged my writing and spent extra time preparing and grading extra writing assignments. I learned a great deal about my craft from her and will be forever grateful.

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