Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 08:06 am
Six sisters in one northern Italian convent have died of coronavirus, and nine sisters are being treated in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Italian media. Coronavirus is spreading among several religious houses in Italy.
An outbreak in the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity Mother House in Tortona, Italy led half of its 40 sisters to test positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.
“Many times as Little Missionary Sisters of Charity we have set ourselves the goal of sharing the lives of the poor and the least, the fragile lives,” Sister Gabriella Perazzi told Vatican News.
“At this moment we share the lives of many people, who throughout Italy and all over the world, experience this fragility in the face of something that comes and upsets the life of a family, like that of a religious community,” she said. “I believe that the Lord calls us today to serve here, in this precariousness.”
After the Red Cross evacuated 19 sisters in the community to a hospital on March 12, the remaining Little Missionary Sisters of Charity were placed under quarantine in another residence.
Sister Gabriella and one other sister remained behind in the Mother House to tend to six elderly sisters who had not tested positive for the coronavirus, but suffer from other health problems.
“We stayed because these sisters need assistance and our motherhouse is for us a sort of retirement home where the [sisters] come after a life spent in service,” she said. “We have remained at our own risk.”
The motherhouse in Tortona is closely connected to the order’s founder, St. Luigi Orione, 1872-1940, who also founded the Sons of Divine Providence, an order of priests and brothers, dedicated to the care of the elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged.