One of two Wilton deaths was a School Sister of Notre Dame

A member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame has died from complications of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

A member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame has died from complications of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Jeannette Ross / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — The Atlantic-Midwest Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame has confirmed that one of its religious members has died from respiratory complications after testing positive for COVID-19.

According to the province, the Sister, whose name was not released, first presented with symptoms on March 22 and was taken to Norwalk Hospital on March 23. She died there on March 25.

Staff from the Wilton Health Department visited the congregation on Belden Hill Road on March 26 and spoke with Sisters who had been in contact with the deceased. They are now in quarantine.

“The administrator and local leaders at Villa Notre Dame have received and are following the necessary directives to assure the safety and health of the Sisters currently living at VND,” the province said in a statement.

Seventy-seven Sisters live at Villa Notre Dame. No others have shown symptoms of COVID-19, the statement said.

They, as well as all who work there, follow CDC protocols to wash their hands, frequently disinfect surfaces, and keep safe distances from those around them, the province said. Anyone who shows signs of the virus will be immediately quarantined and watched closely for further adverse health changes.

A separate area in the complex has been cleaned, disinfected and prepared for anyone showing coronavirus symptoms or those who may need to be isolated as a result of being exposed to the virus.

“Our Sisters value their community life, treasuring their daily interactions, prayer time, and meals,” the province said. “Social distancing practices have been introduced increasingly over the last few weeks. In order to protect their health and the health of those around them, the new requirements for quarantine will be adhered to and the Sisters will continue to seek ways to be in community with others in spirit and in prayer, and with the support of technology.”

The convent has been operating in Wilton since 1961. Last fall, 21 Sisters left the Lourdes Health Care Center on the 38-acre campus after it was closed. The provincial leadership is in discussion with interested developers, a spokesperson has said.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame is an international congregation, with nearly 2,400 Sisters living and ministering in 30 countries. It was founded in 1833 in Bavaria and came to North America in 1847. The sisters direct their ministries toward education.

The Atlantic-Midwest Province is one of 10 provinces worldwide. Its members minister in and out of formal educational settings in more than 32 dioceses across North America and in England. They work in many places that serve people who are poor and marginalized, helping them further their education, find employment, or provide nutritious food for themselves and their families. They recognize that education of the whole person does not stop when the person finishes formal schooling.

“Our Sisters would greatly appreciate your prayers at this time,” the province said. “They, in turn, will pray for all who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus in any way, especially the family and friends of our deceased Sister.”