conventThis is heartbreaking. A 26-year-old nun pleaded guilty Friday to manslaughter after allegedly smothering her newborn after giving birth last year. Authorities claim that the child was born a week after she moved into a convent in Washington D.C.

According to court officials, Sosefina Amoa, the defendant, admitted to killing the child. Amoa is originally from Samoa, and arrived in the states in October of 2013. She entered a program to become a member of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is an international congregation of Roman Catholic women who deliver global service to the elderly poor. She moved into the convent to receive religious classes and learn doctrine, and was to eventually care for residents.

According to reports, Amoa gave birth a mere five days after entering the convent and gave conflicting accounts to the Sisters and police. Originally Amoa said that the child fell on the floor and died, but eventually she admitted to smothering the baby. Am I the only one that feels a little bit sorry for this woman? Obviously what she did was terrible, but I imagine she had a great deal of ignorance on the subject of sex and motherhood, considering she didn’t know she was pregnant, and I can also imagine the shame and panic she must have felt in that moment.

As a lapsed Catholic myself, I wonder if Amoa even knew she was pregnant. Obviously there is no excuse for what she did, but I can’t imagine that she was in a healthy place mentally, and I hope she gets the help she needs. I think there is more to this story than meets the eye.