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Denver Newsroom, Sep 7, 2021 / 16:31 pm (CNA).

Six nuns from the convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family of Mary congregation in Curitiba, Brazil, died in less than a week, five of them from COVID-19.

Other nuns at the convent also came down with the illness and some were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Sister Madalena Ryndack of the Curitiba convent said that “with the prayers of many friends” the situation is gradually “returning to normal.”

The Archdiocese of Curitiba published the death notices of the nuns.

On Aug. 28, Sr. Helena Glovacki, 95, and a sister for 74 years, passed away. On Aug. 29, Sr. Elizabeth Tartas, 94, who was in religious life for 64 years, died. The following day, Sr. Marieta Bet, 88, who spent 70 years in consecrated life, died. On Aug. 31, Sr. Sofía Culaves, 78, with 65 years as a nun, passed away.

On Sept. 2, Sr. Stella Albina Franzo died at the age of 87, with 65 years dedicated to consecrated life.

The one death not connected to COVID-19 was that of Sr. María Catarina da Silva, 70, with 46 years in religious life, who died on Sept. 1. According to the Franciscan Sisters, she had been in the ICU for 47 days with complications from a pituitary tumor, sepsis and kidney failure.

Sr. Madalena told ACI Digital, CNA’s Portuguese language news partner, that “these days were very difficult,” for the congregation  “with the sisters dying, the funerals, others in isolation.”

The nun said the sisters don’t know how the virus got into the convent. “There was an outbreak, an almost uncontrollable situation, but we managed to take care of the sisters and we are coming out of this situation,” she said. She also said that all the nuns who died from COVID-19 in recent days were elderly and had “health conditions.”

According to her, some sisters with COVID-19 who were put into isolation are already finishing their quarantine and of those who were hospitalized, only one is still in the ICU. “Another two are in the ward and one may yet be discharged today (Sept. 3),” she said.

The nun said that during these recent trying days, they “felt very strongly the unity of our congregation. Many sisters came to help, sending already prepared meals. All of this gets us back on our feet and makes us believe more and more in the consecrated life and that God does not abandon us,” she said.