Almost one hundred priests including one bishop have died in Italy so far because of Covid-19, mostly in Italy. Many of them were infected while ministering the sick. In other words, they made the ultimate sacrifice while looking after their people, which is a priest’s highest calling. The priest acts ‘in persona Christi’ and he also laid down his life for others.

The highest number of deaths has occurred in the diocese of Bergamo, which is at the centre of the epidemic, where 25 priests have passed away.

The number of religious sisters who have lost their lives has still to be quantified but many cases have been reported. Six nuns from the same convent died near Turin, five more near Genoa.

Some priests and nuns will have passed away for the same reasons so many others have died in Italy, simply because they were unlucky enough to contract it. But 60 religious sisters living in the main house of the congregation of the Daughters of St Camillus have contracted the virus while working in hospitals.  “We make a fourth vow, in addition to the three classic vows of poverty, obedience and chastity: that of serving the sick even at the cost of our lives”, explained the Secretary General of the order.

The followers of St Camillus, who are also credited for the first recorded field ambulance in history back in the 17th century, are only one of the many Catholic congregations explicitly dedicated to tend the sick.

Through the centuries, those orders have established hospitals, health clinics, leprosaria, nursing homes, pharmacies, nurseries, medical schools, research centres.

It continues here.