A Roman Catholic nun has filed suit against Washington, DC, for its rejection of her request for a religious exemption from its coronavirus vaccination mandate for healthcare workers.

Sister Deirdre “DeDe” Byrne, who is also a physician-surgeon and a retired U.S. Army colonel, offers free medical services to the poor and the undocumented, a practice now threatened by the District of Columbia’s refusal to grant her a religious exemption from vaccination.


Sister Byrne, who has been verified as naturally immune to the coronavirus by T-cell testing, has professed her sincere moral opposition to receiving one of the three approved coronavirus vaccines because of their ties to abortion.

On March 9, 2022, attorneys from the Thomas More Society filed suit on behalf of Byrne in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the district’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, the director of the D.C. health department, LaQuandra Nesbitt, and the District of Columbia itself.

Sister Byrne is an active missionary sister of the Little Workers of the Sacred Heart and superior of her community in Washington, DC. She is also double board-certified as a general surgeon and family physician.

“Sister Deirdre has sought – and been denied – a religious exemption from DC’s health worker COVID-19 vaccination mandate,” declared Christopher Ferrara, special counsel with the Thomas More Society. “All three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States have been tested, developed, or produced with cell lines derived from abortions, something to which Sister Deirdre has deep and sincere religious opposition.”

Judicial intervention is required “to prevent a senseless bar on the practice of medicine by a religious sister who has devoted her career in the District of Columbia to healing the sick who cannot afford quality medical care,” Ferrara stated.

Speaking with Fox News host Laura Ingraham Thursday, Sister Byrne said she has treated some 400 coronavirus patients with great success in keeping them out of the hospital.

Byrne’s request for an exemption was denied via an unsigned email letter that stated that her religious exemption would pose an “undue hardship” to DC|Health. The letter further specified that Sister Byrne had five days to get vaccinated after which she would lose her license.

The Thomas More Society has noted that since DC|Health does not employ Sister Deirdre it cannot as a matter of law suffer any “hardship” from Byrne’s volunteer medical services.

Ferrara observed that DC|Health seems not to have granted a single request for religious exemption from the vaccine mandate despite numerous requests.

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