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PERUGIA, Italy (LifeSiteNews) —The Mother Superior of a community of cloistered Benedictine nuns says that their convent is being closed because they refuse to take the COVID vaccine.

According to Italian online newspaper the Daily Compass, Mother Caterina, the abbess of the convent of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria in Perugia, told the outlet that the closure follows an Apostolic Visitation in mid-February. The sisters have been told to make their home with another religious order.

The nuns do not believe they are at fault for, Mother Caterina stated, “even the visitor said that she found nothing wrong, either with the liturgy or with our spiritual formation, and acknowledged that we are economically self-sufficient.”

However, the official visitor stated that Mother Caterina’s “comportment was inadequate” in the matter of the COVID jabs.

“The only explanation that was given to me was the fact that the nuns had not been vaccinated,” the Mother Superior recalled.

“It is true, I can confirm that this is the only explanation I was given at the end of the apostolic visit,” she continued.

“In May, when the question of the vaccine arose, they [the nuns] all immediately stated that they did not wish to be vaccinated. We decided to bide our time, and in October the problematic question presented itself once again. The convent’s doctor contacted me, and again we refused.”

Mother Caterina told the Daily Compass that the visitor was a Mother Cristiana Ianni of the Order of the Poor Clares in Orvieto. The Benedictine abbess had first heard from the Archbishop of Perugia, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, that her convent would be the subject of a visitation. Bassetti, 79, is also the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).

Mother Caterina also gave an interview to a local newspaper, Corriere dell’Umbria, in which she repeated that she had been told by Ianni herself that she had been found lacking because her nuns were not vaccinated.

The Archdiocese of Perugia has denied having anything to do with the threatened closure of the convent.

“At the moment this diocese has no knowledge of the imminent closure of the convent [monastero], nor of the fact that the reason for its closure is due to the nuns’ failure to take the anti-Covid vaccination,” a spokesman for the diocese wrote.

“We therefore firmly deny the insinuations that the nuns were transferred because they refused to be vaccinated.”

The spokesman added: “Regarding the spiritual, liturgical and economic state of the monastery, the Ordinary has not yet received anything from the competent Congregation, which will offer its opinion and decisions on the basis of the report of the Apostolic Visitor.”

“Finally, the Benedictine Order, the owner of the property, has exclusive rights regarding its possible use or transfer following the closure of the monastery. Therefore, any involvement of the Diocese in this matter is without any basis whatsoever.”

The Archdiocese of Perugia also said that it was not responsible for the visitation, which was the purview of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The Benedictine nuns have neither an active guesthouse nor contact with the outside world, and they have never fallen ill with COVID. The Benedictine convent building, which has been in existence since the year 1500, is strictly cloistered. The only time the faithful are present at the convent is for the sisters’ daily Mass, during which the nuns remain behind their cloister grille. At present, the community numbers only five, but they have been expecting a sixth nun to join them from Brazil. Her arrival has been delayed by Italy’s COVID restrictions.

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the convent of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria and is awaiting a response.