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Remains of 62 nuns to be removed from Denver cemetery

The Catholic Church is moving the remains of 62 nuns, some who have been buried at Loretto Heights for more than a century.

DENVER — The former Loretto Heights University campus site in southwest Denver is being redeveloped, prompting the Sisters of Loretto to close a cemetery there.

The developer of the site offered to keep the cemetery and work it into their plans, but the Sisters of Loretto decided it would be best to move the sisters to Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Wheat Ridge.

The Denver Archdiocese put its Director of Cemeteries Gary Schaaf in charge of exhuming the bodies.

The 62 nuns buried at the site were administrators and educators at the school. Most of the nuns were buried in pine boxes, which have deteriorated over the years.

Forensic anthropologists are meticulously searching by hand to find what's left, to make sure the remains are handled with the dignity and care they deserve.

Volunteers and students working at the site have also found artifacts, including tarnished silver name plates, large crosses, and small crucifixes that were attached to the nun's habits.

Schaaf said the entire project is a rescue mission of sorts. The nuns are being rescued and moved to a safe place, where they will be revered forever.

In place of the cemetery, the developer will build a Memorial Garden, to pay tribute to the nuns, who were pioneers in education in Colorado.

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