Arkansas Six Catholic nuns have been excommunicated for heresy after refusing to give up membership in a Canadian sect whose founder claims to be possessed by the Virgin Mary, the Diocese of Little Rock announced Wednesday.
The Rev. J. Gaston Hebert, the diocese administrator, said he notified the nuns of the decision Tuesday night after they refused to recant the teachings of the Community of the Lady of All Nations, also known as the Army of Mary.
The Vatican has declared all members of the Army of Mary excommunicated. Hebert said the excommunication was the first in the diocese's 165-year history.
The six nuns are associated with the Good Shepherd Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge in Hot Springs. Sister Mary Theresa Dionne, one of the nuns excommunicated, said the nuns will still live at the convent property, which they own.
"We are at peace and we know that for us we are doing the right thing," the 82-year-old nun said. "We pray that the church will open their eyes before it is too late. This is God's work through Mary, the blessed mother, and we're doing what we're asked to do."