Eight nuns died of Covid-19 at a Wisconsin facility within a week

Eight nuns at the Notre Dame of Elm Grove in Wisconsin died of Covid-19 in a week. From top left: Sister Cynthia Borman, Sister Rose M. Feess, Sister Joan Emily Kaul, Sister Lillia Langreck; from bottom left: Sister Dorothy MacIntyre, Sister Mary Alexius Portz, Sister Mary Elva Wiesner, Sister Michael Marie Laux

(CNN)Within a week, eight nuns living in the Notre Dame of Elm Grove in Wisconsin died from Covid-19, all of whom, in their own ways, were mentors in the community.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame confirmed the deaths to CNN affiliate WTMJ, adding the sisters died of complications caused by the virus.
"Every one of our sisters is really important," Sister Debra Sciano, the provincial leader of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province, told the news station. "Not only to us, but we feel they have touched thousands of lives we'll never be aware of."
The facility was first established as an orphanage but later became a home for elderly and ill sisters, according to the School Sisters of Notre Dame website.
It is currently home to 88 nuns, including some who have the virus, Sciano told CNN on Friday.
"They are receiving wonderful care," she said. "They're doing well right now. We're hopeful that they will get through this."
The deaths come several months after six nuns died of Covid-19 at Our Lady of the Angels Convent, in Greenfield, which cares for retired religious sisters from the School Sisters of St. Francis and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Earlier this year, a Michigan convent outside Detroit lost 13 nuns to Covid-19 with 12 dying in one month. The first death came on Good Friday.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame said there are confirmed cases among the nuns living in the facility, but did not release the number of infections, according to the affiliate.
It added the sisters have been following CDC guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing and regular hand washing, the station reported.
"It's been difficult," Sciano told CNN. "It's been a sacrifice for everyone, just as so many others are experiencing."
Among the nuns lost to the virus was Sister Rose Feess, who was known for her "teaching skill, especially her attention to grammar and writing, her faith, her sharp wit and her love of cats," the Notre Dame School of Milwaukee wrote in a Facebook post.
Another, Sister Lillia Langreck, had been "heavily involved in racial and social justice efforts" for the past 60 years, according to the affiliate, including the Milwaukee marches for fair houses and integrated busing.