Sister Mary Luiza Wawrzyniak, 99, a native of South Bend, Indiana, was a Felician sister for 80 years. LIVONIA, Mich. — A convent outside of Detroit has lost 13 nuns to the coronavirus, 12 of them died in one month, according to CNN and The New York Times. Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. So far, Moloney said, people have given about $9,000 to the fund, and many donations have been $10 and $20 from strangers. Initially, the sisters immigrated to North American in the late 1800s, mostly from Poland, said Marcia Wallander, the order's director of development for North America. Now a local Catholic organization is stepping up to help them. Now there are only 44. Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "They are so self-sacrificing, they never think of themselves first. Your information will not be shared with anyone. She died on April 22, 2020. They ranged in age from 69 to 99. The money would go to support their charitable work, but also their needs like facemasks, gloves, medication, funerals, and caregivers as they work to recover from the virus. The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province was transferred to Detroit in 1882. The Sisters at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia, MI, received a little bit of spring joy this week when the staff brought them some flowers to cheer up their rooms. "They are just so touched that they've impacted people's lives in a way that they are remembering them," Wallander said. LIVONIA, Mich. (FOX 2) - There has been an outpouring of support for the Livonia group of religious sisters that has lost 13 members to the coronavirus. She died on April 25, 2020. She died on April 12, 2020. Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. Before the pandemic, 57 sisters were living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent. ", "These women have sacrificed their wants and needs for the greater community," Moloney said. Coronavirus devastates a Livonia convent, but even in death, nuns inspir... Read or Share this story: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/08/03/livonia-nuns-convent-coronavirus-catholic-felician-sisters/5544097002/. Contributions can be, How to run a primary in a pandemic: Michigan clerks get a crash course, Michigan adds 426 coronavirus cases Sunday with no new deaths, Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko dies of COVID-19, Republicans: Whitmer veto puts extension of jobless benefits at risk, 4 charged in Warren police 'deadly drug cell' bust, Replay: Whitmer update on COVID-19 response, Census estimates show Michigan likely to lose Congressional seat, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. All rights reserved. Ex-U-M official sexually harassed employees, had sex in offices, investigation shows, Entire movie theater industry could hinge on release of 'Tenet,' set to open in August. Enter your address to see what the candidates on your ballot had to say, from U.S. Senate to your local school board. Over half of the 57 sisters in Livonia were infected. "You have this group of women who are called by God to serve," Wallander said, adding that they believe God will provide what they need. In July, 13 religious sisters, who ranged in age from 69 to 99 and who lived, prayed and worked together at a Michigan convent, died in a matter of weeks. That's down to 44, with five international students from other congregations staying with … Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. ", Chapel of the Felician Sisters in Livonia on August 1, 2020. (Photo: Felician Sisters of North America), The Catholic Foundation of Michigan has set up a fund to support of the sisters, including burial expenses, the costs of care, sanitizing, and protective equipment. Inspired by Venerable Nano Nagle, our Foundress, we participate in the gospel call of liberation and social transformation. So many people were impacted by the deaths of the Felician Sisters, including Moloney with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. "Any word you can think of that means leader and women making a difference. Sister Mary Clarence (Adeline) Borkoski, 83, was an educator for 48 years and had been taught by the Felician Sisters when she was in elementary school. She said it was likely more coincidental, than miraculous. She died April 26, 2020. Of those, 13 died of the disease, including one who recovered, but then relapsed. Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. (Photo: Catholic Foundation). "The raw grief is yet to come." "Jesus assures us, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.' That's down to 44, with five international students from other congregations staying with … That's what hits home. Sister Mary Janice Zolkowski, 86, joined the Felicians in 1951, taking final vows in 1959. Blessed Mary Angela, Foundress Chapel (1936) of the Felician Sisters in Livonia, Michigan. The Catholic nuns took vows of chastity, obedience and poverty — and, some say, an unofficial vow of humility. As an international Congregation our vision, like Nano’s, reaches beyond our local situations and has a global consciousness and outreach. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook Sister Danatha Suchyta, 98, a Detroit native, was a member of the Felician Congregation for 80 years. By the order's count, there are now only 469 sisters living in 60 convents in North America. Twelve of those sisters died within one month, between April 10 and May 10. By the order’s count, there are now only 469 sisters living in 60 convents in North America. "I get chills thinking about that," said Sister Mary Andrew Budinski, superior of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, where the women had lived, according to the Global Sisters Report. But that is commonly shortened to just Felician sisters. More: How to run a primary in a pandemic: Michigan clerks get a crash course, More: Michigan adds 426 coronavirus cases Sunday with no new deaths. We are active, apostolic, Catholic religious women participating in the mission of Jesus in the United States of America. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press). The convent, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Livonia, about 20 miles west of Detroit, also has another 17 sisters who had the disease caused by the coronavirus but recovered. St. Joseph Care Center of the Felician Sisters campus in Livonia on August 1, 2020. A combination photograph shows the 11 Felician Sisters who died in April from the congregation’s Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. Welcome to our new and improved comments, which are for subscribers only. In June, a … Thirteen Felician sisters at a Michigan convent have died from COVID-19, 12 in a one-month span, and another six weeks later.All 13 who died had been members for at least 50 years. The group lost 12 nuns over the course of a month from April 10 to May 10. To help, the Catholic Foundation set up a fund, hoping to raise a $100,000, which, the creators said, could go a long way to help care for the sisters and, if invested, generate $5,000 to $10,000 a year for them. The sisters certainly are not alone in their suffering. You will need to register before adding a comment. A 13th sister died on June 27. Before the pandemic, 57 sisters were living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent. It's OK to disagree with someone's ideas, but personal attacks, insults, threats, hate speech, advocating violence and other violations can result in a ban. Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in. On top of the challenges of raising money for the charitable work they do for others, the aging sisters also face the costs of funerals, extra face masks, and gloves to keep them safe, and hot meals, medicine, and caregivers as they recover from the virus. Presentation Sisters Union. Wallander said she recently had permission to deliver a box of potato chips packages that a donor had given them, and the sisters were so excited to receive the treats, "you would have thought I brought them bags of gold.". To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. This is a test to see whether we can improve the experience for you. Zervos — who attended Madonna University and has a teenage daughter who she hopes to enroll there next year — said that something sweet happened at the cemetery while she was praying. Please be polite. ", Moloney, who started to cry as she remembered the sisters who died, said that to her, their story is not just a Catholic story, but a personal one because "it could have been any of us: Our sister, our mom, our aunt, ourselves. Come and see the joy we have presenting Christ to others through education, service to the poor, children with autism, children with special educational needs, … She says living without visitors or interaction was the hardest on the women, who never asked for anything - even in their final days. "They've given up the material stuff that the rest of us take for granted. She died on April 15, 2020. Response to Love Center Receives Two Gifts in Support of Efforts A link has been sent to your friend's email address. She sent the Catholic order a donation, brought flowers to the sisters' graves at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Southfield and kneeled down to pray for the repose of their souls. Madonna University instituted master's-level programs in 1982 and became a university in 1991. The third of three children of Aloysius and Clara (Pletzki), Virginia was born on Nov. 20, 1932, and baptized at St. Joseph Church in Chicago. "If you look at our website it is pictures of the sisters hugging touching and being with people because they don't want and one to feel alone, feel hungry, afraid or not educated," Wallander said. That’s who they were.". "These were women who are just beyond sisters and your average women, they were leaders, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers," said Marcia Wallander. The sisters also sponsor the Senior Clergy Village, the Felician Children’s Center in Jackson, Deo Gratias Ministries in Detroit, and the Maryville Retreat Center in Holly. She died on April 21, 2020. The group lost 12 nuns over the … And in the end, she added, they sacrificed their lives for others. "They are reluctant to say they need anything," said Angela Moloney, president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation, who was moved to tears as she talked about the sisters. Sister Mary Alice Ann (Fernanda) Gradowski, 73, entered the Felicians in 1964, professing final vows in 1973. They came at the request of a priest who was concerned children needed more educational opportunities. In addition to Michigan, contributions have come from people living in Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas — and Washington, D.C. Two donations came from Norway. Officially, the nuns' order is the Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi. When the Felician Sisters established the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in 1936, Livonia was just a small town of farm fields outside of Detroit. But a beautiful, little butterfly began flitting in the sunlight about among the headstones. A convent, orphanage, and Felician Academy, an all-girl high school, were all housed in the same building. Supporters nationwide -- from Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas — and Washington D.C. -- have sent emails of support for the Felician Sisters in Livonia. The deaths, which have garnered national attention, are a reminder of how vulnerable the elderly are to the virus and the challenges of living close together in independent living facilities and nursing homes. Sister Victoria Marie Indyk, 69, entered the Felician community after high school graduation in 1969 and professed final vows in 1978. It helps — when you think about what they did with their lives — to be a better person yourself.". Now there are only 44. She died on May 10, 2020. She oversaw nurses at the convent and in 1997 joined the nursing faculty at Madonna University, where she was professor in the nursing department until her death. (Photo: Felician Sisters of North America). “The raw grief is yet to come, I think.” And, like many organizations, the sisters have had to take pandemic precautions, such as wearing protective equipment and learning to use more digital communication to maintain their social distance. "That is such a great gift. She died on April 20, 2020. August 6, 2020. COVID-19 has led to the deaths of 13 nuns at a convent in Livonia in the last three months, religious officials report. That likely led to the deaths of 13 elderly sisters at a Livonia convent. The deaths came several months after 13 sisters died of Covid-19 at a Michigan convent, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Livonia, about 20 miles west of Detroit. The sisters, aged 69 to 99, were all part of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, Michigan. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press). Wallander is the director of development for the Felician Sisters, based in Pittsburgh, but came to Michigan to help care for the religious sisters while they were in isolation. In Livonia, they founded Madonna University, a Montessori school, St. Mary Child Care Center, Angela Hospice, and Marywood Nursing Care Center, as well as the all-female Ladywood High School, which closed as a result of declining enrollment in 2018. Contributions can be made online or by calling 248-204-0332. Death Came when Holy Communion Stopped Thirteen Felician sisters were killed after coronavirus swept “like a wildfire” through Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, Michigan. In 1937, Madonna University (then known as Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Junior College) was established by Mother Mary DeSales Tocka and her council in the Felician Central Convent in Livonia, with a first year enrollment of 18 Sisters. You will only see an accurate ballot if you enter your full address. That's down to 44, with five international students from other congregations staying with them to study at Madonna University, one of the nation's largest Franciscan colleges. As Zervos watched the butterfly open and close its wings, she realized they were blue and gold, Madonna University's school colors. At least 13 nuns from a single convent in Livonia, ... the Detroit Catholic news service reported that as many as 22 sisters at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in … “I get chills thinking about that,” Sr. Mary Andrew Budinski, the superior of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia… ", This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. "I was so sorry they suffered, and I know there are some sisters are still ill," Zervos, 52, of Northville, said. Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or fwitsil@freepress.com. Additionally, 17 other sisters in the convent contracted the virus and recovered. When Lisa Zervos heard 13 religious sisters living together in a Livonia convent died of coronavirus, she felt heartbroken. So far, there have been more than nine thousand dollars in donations and we are told no one is more appreciative than the Felician Sisters. "Their whole lives were devoted not to themselves but others. They run Madonna University. Don’t forget your ‘vaccine passport’, MISSING PERSON: 34-year-old Jennifer Blackmon, Ohio State study: 30% of student athletes have heart damage linked to COVID-19. Sister Mary Madeline Dolan, 82 a native of Flint, spent over 30 years in religious education. She died on April 10, 2020. © 2020 www.freep.com. But since the coronavirus pandemic began, 30 nuns — more than half of the nuns living together in their Livonia convent — have come down with COVID-19. Moreover, about a third of these deaths have been linked to the state's nursing homes. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, 30 nuns — more than half of the 57 living together in their Livonia convent — have come down with COVID-19. Range in age from 69 to 99, were all housed in the area 1955, final. `` their whole lives were devoted not to themselves but others for others,... The Congregation of sisters of the 57 sisters living in the United States of America we are active,,! 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