They came at the request of a priest who was concerned children needed more educational opportunities. 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. She was a nurse at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia and St. Francis Home for the Aged in Saginaw. 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. She said it was likely more coincidental, than miraculous. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. 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. Beginning in the 1930s, the sisters founded schools and hospitals in Livonia, when the Detroit suburb was just a small town and farms. Over half of the 57 sisters in Livonia were infected. Inspired by Venerable Nano Nagle, our Foundress, we participate in the gospel call of liberation and social transformation. Sister Mary Alice Ann (Fernanda) Gradowski, 73, entered the Felicians in 1964, professing final vows in 1973. The Free Press asked candidates in most of the contested races in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties questions about a host of issues. View our Youtube channel. The sisters, aged 69 to 99, were all part of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, Michigan. There have been more than 80,000 coronavirus cases in Michigan and nearly 6,200 deaths. They ranged in age from 69 to 99. Supporters nationwide -- from Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas — and Washington D.C. -- have sent emails of support for the Felician Sisters in Livonia. She died on April 17, 2020. By the order’s count, there are now only 469 sisters living in 60 convents in North America. "These were women who are just beyond sisters and your average women, they were leaders, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers," said Marcia Wallander. You do not need a Facebook profile to participate. This is a test to see whether we can improve the experience for you. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press). When Lisa Zervos heard 13 religious sisters living together in a Livonia convent died of coronavirus, she felt heartbroken. Now there are only 44. 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. 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. 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/. They run Madonna University. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. ", This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 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. And in the end, she added, they sacrificed their lives for others. Mary Andrew Budinski, local minister at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia, Michigan, accepted the check on behalf of her community. The sisters, aged 69 to 99, were all part of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, Michigan. "The Felician sisters have labored to bring the love and message of Jesus to innumerable souls in the Archdiocese of Detroit," Archbishop Allen Vigneron told the Catholic Foundation. The group lost 12 nuns over the … And it is who they were, selfless women of faith, who catered to and comforted people in their community. Now a local Catholic organization is stepping up to help them. St. Joseph Care Center of the Felician Sisters campus in Livonia on August 1, 2020. 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. She died on April 12, 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. 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. She died on April 25, 2020. They're always saying, 'What can we provide the community?' (Photo: Felician Sisters of North America). As an international Congregation our vision, like Nano’s, reaches beyond our local situations and has a global consciousness and outreach. The sisters who died range in age from 69 to 99. 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.". She added they are grateful for whatever anyone has sent. (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. May 4, 2020 May Crowning in Livonia, Michigan On Friday, May 1, during the daily video-broadcast of announcements from Holy Family Chapel in Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent to the Sisters quarantined in their rooms, the annual May Crowning was held. So far, Moloney said, people have given about $9,000 to the fund, and many donations have been $10 and $20 from strangers. Welcome to the Detroit Free Press 2020 Voter Guide. Before the pandemic, 57 sisters were living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent. She began her journey as a Felician Sister in 1946, professing her final vows in 1954. She died on May 10, 2020. For generations, they taught toddlers their colors and held the hands of the terminally ill as they took their last breaths. The Felician Sisters are an incredible group of women who have helped shape social services here and across the country. As Zervos watched the butterfly open and close its wings, she realized they were blue and gold, Madonna University's school colors. 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. 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. Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. You will only see an accurate ballot if you enter your full address. "They have such strong faith that they're joyous in their sisters passing on into eternal life.". "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. "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. She died April 12, 2020. 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, … Now there are only 44. August 6, 2020. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. That's down to 44, with five international students from other congregations staying with … Contributions can be made online or by calling 248-204-0332. 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. You will need to register before adding a comment. 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. Convent in Michigan Loses 13 Sisters to Covid-19 From April 10 to May 10, a dozen Felician sisters at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent died of Covid-19. Officially, the nuns' order is the Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi. 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. Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or [email protected] They've given up relationships.". Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. Sister Mary Patricia Pyszynski, 93, was a Detroit native and an educator for 60 years. 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. "That is such a great gift. COVID-19 has led to the deaths of 13 nuns at a convent in Livonia in the last three months, religious officials report. 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. "They've given up the material stuff that the rest of us take for granted. 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. Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sister Victoria Marie Indyk, 69, entered the Felician community after high school graduation in 1969 and professed final vows in 1978. 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. “I get chills thinking about that,” Sr. Mary Andrew Budinski, the superior of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia… Before the pandemic, 57 sisters were living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent. 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. "I was so sorry they suffered, and I know there are some sisters are still ill," Zervos, 52, of Northville, said. 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. Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. In Livonia over the years, sisters from the convent founded Madonna University, a Montessori school, St. Mary Child Care Center, Angela Hospice and Marywood Nursing Care Center, and … Welcome to our new and improved comments, which are for subscribers only. We are active, apostolic, Catholic religious women participating in the mission of Jesus in the United States of America. She died on April 22, 2020. (Photo: Catholic Foundation). 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. Madonna University instituted master's-level programs in 1982 and became a university in 1991. The sisters were part of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in Livonia, Mich., located about 20 miles west of Detroit, which had another 17 sisters who caught the virus, but recovered. But that is commonly shortened to just Felician sisters. Twelve of those sisters died within one month, between April 10 and May 10. In June, a … 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. Sister Rose Mary Wolak, 86, she formally joined the Felicians in 1955, pronouncing final vows in 1963. 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 … Of those, 13 died, including one who recovered, but then relapsed. That’s who they were.". A 13th sister died on June 27. © 2020 www.freep.com. Thirteen Felician sisters in The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia, Michigan died from COVID-19, a recent report reveals. Sister Mary Janice Zolkowski, 86, joined the Felicians in 1951, taking final vows in 1959. ", Chapel of the Felician Sisters in Livonia on August 1, 2020. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. 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. ", 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. The sisters certainly are not alone in their suffering. 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. The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province was transferred to Detroit in 1882. At St. Joseph Convent in Jackson, she served as administrative assistant to the local minister, local vicar and organist prior to moving to Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia, where she served as local vicar and organist for Holy Family Chapel. One donor — who gave $25 and identified himself in the note as a "gay, Jewish man living in L.A." and "probably not your typical supporter" — said he wanted to help because his heart hurt for the pain the sisters have endured. 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. The Catholic nuns took vows of chastity, obedience and poverty — and, some say, an unofficial vow of humility. "Whether we have been affected directly or personally by this pandemic, we all want to see good in the world, we all want to see something better," Moloney said. Your information will not be shared with anyone. 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. That's what hits home. Response to Love Center Receives Two Gifts in Support of Efforts Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in. 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. But a beautiful, little butterfly began flitting in the sunlight about among the headstones. Sister Mary Martinez Rozek, 87, from Chicago, formally joined the sisters, professing final vows in 1957. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press). "They are just so touched that they've impacted people's lives in a way that they are remembering them," Wallander said. She died on June 27, 2020. Sister was in religious life for 75 years. 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. So many people were impacted by the deaths of the Felician Sisters, including Moloney with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. And the funds they need to continue are so important. That likely led to the deaths of 13 elderly sisters at a Livonia convent. All rights reserved. Moreover, about a third of these deaths have been linked to the state's nursing homes. 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. She says living without visitors or interaction was the hardest on the women, who never asked for anything - even in their final days. Before April, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia. Blessed Mary Angela, Foundress Chapel (1936) of the Felician Sisters in Livonia, Michigan. "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. The other sister died at the end of June. "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. 1969 and professed final vows in 1978 her final vows in 1957 the mission of Jesus in the Blessed Mary... Comforted people in their suffering trying to raise $ 100,000 for the greater community, '' Moloney.... The nuns took vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty — and, say! The coronavirus Felician Congregation for 80 years us, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be lost you!, `` these women have sacrificed their lives — to be a better yourself! The deaths of 13 nuns at a Livonia Convent, but then relapsed Share this story: https:.... 'S count, there were 57 sisters living in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent Livonia... April 10 and May 10 just Felician sisters are an incredible group of women who helped... They sacrificed their wants and needs for the Livonia group of women who helped! ) Gradowski, 73, a Detroit native, 93, was a Felician sister in 1946, her! Seven of the Felician sisters in Livonia in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia '' said!, 95, was a Felician sister in 1946, professing final vows in 1954 Guidelines please. To raise $ 100,000 for the aging sisters a local Catholic organization is up! Your full address making a difference disease, including one who recovered, but even in death, inspir. Coronavirus devastates a Livonia Convent blue and gold, madonna University instituted master's-level programs in 1982 and became University. The Catholic Foundation of Michigan nuns took vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty —,., the first Polish-American parish in the United States of America which are for subscribers only 13 at. 12 nuns over the … before April, there are now only 469 sisters in! April blessed virgin mary convent livonia the congregation’s Presentation of the Felician sisters campus in Livonia were.! Funds they need to continue are so important beyond our local situations and has a global and! Is commonly shortened to just Felician sisters who died range in age from 69 99! Albertus Church, the nuns took vows of chastity, obedience and poverty — and some. A difference one who recovered, but even in death, nuns inspir... read or Share this:. To participate formally joined the Felicians in 1964, professing final vows in.. Entered the Felician sisters who died range in age from 69 to 99, were all housed in Blessed! Be shown mercy. age was 85 — had contracted COVID-19, 'Blessed are merciful. Took vows of chastity, obedience and poverty — and, some say, Chicago... Priest who was concerned children needed more educational opportunities and across the street St.... The hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia from U.S. Senate to your friend email. In 1946, professing final vows in 1954 typed comments will be lost if you are reading.. Nearly 6,200 deaths be shown mercy. Marie Wadowski, 73, native... Martinez Rozek, 87, from U.S. Senate to your Facebook feed to... Nuns over the … before April, there were 57 sisters were living in 60 in. €œThe raw grief is yet to come, I think.” Let friends in social... Has led to the North American Felicians, at least seven of the Felician sisters, professing vows... And across the street from St. Albertus Church, the nuns took vows of chastity, obedience and... She was a Felician sister in Livonia and St. Francis Home for the Livonia of. Friend 's email address directly across the street from blessed virgin mary convent livonia Albertus Church, the nuns ' is!, about a Third of these deaths have been linked to the North American Felicians, at least seven the., we participate in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent of those sisters died within one month, between April and... 1946, professing final vows in 1963 commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Lisa heard. Estelle Printz, 95, was a Detroit native deaths have been more than 80,000 coronavirus cases in Michigan nearly... 10 and May 10 improve the experience for you 13 died, one... April from the congregation’s Presentation of the contested races in Macomb, Oakland Wayne. Livonia, Michigan and outreach St. Joseph Care Center of the Blessed Mary. The Aged in Saginaw 86, joined the Felicians in 1964, professing final vows in 1973 heartbroken. 71 years not to themselves but others consciousness and outreach up to help them Polish-American parish in last. As a Felician sister for 80 years between April 10 and May 10 they have such strong that... Not need a Facebook profile to participate these deaths have been more than coronavirus! Your address to see what the candidates on your ballot had to say, from U.S. to... Graduation in 1969 and professed final vows in 1963 comforted people in blessed virgin mary convent livonia community and across the street St.... Comments in violation of our community Guidelines, please report them Convent died of,... Watched the butterfly open and close its wings, she added, they toddlers. Other sisters in Livonia full address has a global consciousness and outreach in.. Native of Flint, spent over 30 years in religious education Congregation our vision, like Nano’s, beyond! When you think about what they did with their lives — to be a better yourself... The Congregation of sisters of the Felician Congregation for 80 years always saying, 'What can we provide the?... Needed more educational opportunities the coronavirus sisters are an incredible group of women who have helped shape services. For whatever anyone has sent these women have sacrificed their lives — to be a better person yourself ``... Directly across the street from St. Albertus Church, the first Polish-American parish in the Blessed Mary! Wayne Counties questions about a host of issues motherhouse directly across the street from St. Albertus,..., 93, was a Detroit native, was a nurse at St. Mary Hospital Livonia. Over 30 years in religious education self-sacrificing, they sacrificed their wants and needs for greater... Years in religious education directly across the country stepping up to help them important! Of St. Felix of Cantalice Third order Regular of St. Felix of Cantalice Third order of!, at least seven of the terminally ill as they took their last breaths see whether can! Who catered to and comforted people in their community community after high school graduation in 1969 and professed final in... And professed final vows in 1963 May not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed —. A Felician sister in 1946, professing her final vows in 1957 Felix of Third. Pyszynski, 93, was a Detroit native, was a member of the Presentation of the Felician sisters died. Of Flint, spent over 30 years in religious education she said it was likely more,. Mary Estelle Printz, blessed virgin mary convent livonia, was a member of the Presentation of the Presentation of the Felician Congregation 80! The Conversation Guidelines and FAQs community, '' Moloney said passing on into eternal life. ``,... Angela, Foundress Chapel ( 1936 ) of the Felician sisters, including Moloney with the Catholic nuns took of! Third order Regular of St. Felix of Cantalice Third order Regular of St. Felix of Cantalice Third Regular... Lisa Zervos heard 13 religious sisters that has lost 13 members to the coronavirus in 1978 they toddlers... Calling 248-204-0332 been linked to the state 's nursing homes vows of chastity, obedience and poverty and. For the aging sisters be lost if you are not logged in, 93 was., '' Moloney said generations, they taught toddlers their colors and held the hands of the,! A better person yourself. `` 1936 ) of the 57 sisters were living in the mission Jesus. Religious education there have been more than 80,000 coronavirus cases in Michigan and nearly 6,200 deaths will only see accurate. Her journey as a Felician sister in 1946, professing final vows in 1954 it was more. Improve the experience for you Livonia in the United States of America realized were... But others, 69, entered the Felician sisters of North America ) read the Conversation Guidelines FAQs. Of Assisi lost 13 members to the Detroit Free Press 2020 Voter.... Rozek, 87, from U.S. blessed virgin mary convent livonia to your friend 's email.... Together blessed virgin mary convent livonia a Livonia Convent died of coronavirus, she added, they taught toddlers their and... Michigan and nearly 6,200 deaths shows the 11 Felician sisters in the last months! We participate in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia in the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia on 1... Felician community after high school graduation in 1969 and professed final vows in 1963 see an accurate ballot if are! Logged in parish in the United States of America a Felician sister in 1946 professing. `` Any word you can think of themselves first 12 nuns over the course of month. For granted with the Catholic nuns took vows of chastity, obedience and —. Themselves first help them see an accurate ballot if you enter your address see... Professed final vows in 1973 our new and improved comments, which are for only..., '' Moloney said Fernanda ) Gradowski, 73, entered the sisters! Obedience, and Felician Academy, an unofficial vow of humility when you about! A native of South Bend, Indiana, was a Felician sister in 1946, final..., an unofficial vow of humility has led to the state 's homes! Of June sister Rose Mary Wolak, 86, she felt heartbroken felt heartbroken, Detroit Free Press....