Two pro-abortion nuns who waged a four-year battle against expulsion from the Roman Catholic Church resigned from their order Thursday.

Sisters Barbara Ferraro and Patricia Hussey said in their letter of resignation that they found it difficult "to reconcile our vision of community and mission with the actions of the leadership.""It means we aren't nuns anymore," Hussey said.

The church threatened the nuns with expulsion after they signed a statement in 1984 supporting a woman's right to have an abortion and later refused to retract that support.

Church officials in Rome backed down from the expulsion threat in June, saying they would not proceed with "the process to dismiss" Ferraro and Hussey from the Sisters of Notre Dame.

"We will continue to stay as Roman Catholics and continue to be a gadfly and confront the issues that need to be confronted within the church," Hussey said.