Two missionary nuns of the Catholic church have triggered an investigation in the church after they became pregnant while working in Africa.
The two women, who belonged to separate religious orders in Sicily, are expecting children despite their vows of chastity.
One of them, a mother superior, found she was several weeks pregnant while the other woman discovered the news when she complained of stomach pain.
Both nuns are now facing an uncertain future in their profession and the scandal has caused ‘consternation’ among the clergy.
One of the women, aged 34, discovered her pregnancy when she went to hospital with stomach pain, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
Her religious order has not been identified, but reports say she belonged to a convent in Sicily’s Nebrodi mountains.
She has now moved to Palermo to prepare for the birth of her child.
The nun may now choose to give up her monastic life altogether and focus on raising her child, it is believed.
In a second case, a nun who was originally from Madagascar was discovered to be several weeks pregnant.
The nun was a mother superior – a senior monastic – and had been caring for the elderly at an institute in Ragusa.
She has already returned to her home country, according to reports, but the double scandal has caused concern among the church hierarchy.
‘There is consternation at this news,’ a church source in Rome, where the Catholic Church has its headquarters, told The Sun.