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.