Residents of Assisi and Rieti, in Italy, have taken to Facebook to express their sadness and gratitude for a Tanzanian religious sister, Anastasia Cristian Malisa who died of Covid-19 over the weekend. She was 60 years old.
“Today, at 16.30, our Sister Anastasia, returned to Jesus, her spouse and only source of joy, after a terrible month of suffering from the coronavirus,” wrote one of the Poor Clares in Rieti, last Saturday.
According to the newspaper, Avvenire, 118 priests have so far died of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. The virus has been devastating the ranks of female Catholic congregations worldwide. In Italy, the numbers of religious sisters who have died is much greater than the number of priests.
Female religious are more vulnerable because many of them work in hospitals; run nursing and retirement homes, and live closely together in communities.