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Rome Reports

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Covid-19 in India: Camillians help give proper burials to pandemic victims

The Order of Clerics Regular, Ministers to the Sick, commonly known as the Camillians, counts on about 1,200 religious men and women in 41 countries.

Their charism revolves around caring for the sick. That's why they've dedicated themselves to treating coronavirus patients. Especially in India.

“Our brothers and sisters in India, a country heavily affected by the pandemic and in a state of emergency, have all taken action. At first they volunteered to help bury the dead, which is an act of mercy especially important in our charism, which is all about caring for the sick. But burying the dead is also a way to uphold their dignity.”

For the Camillians, an act of charity can be as simple as holding a sick person's hand or closing the eyes of the deceased.

“Six Camillians died of Covid-19. About 50 religious in our order were infected. And in some of our provinces, up to 30 percent of our staff was infected.”

St. Camillus founded the Order in 1582, a time plagued by terrible health crises.

“St. Camillus lived in an era of great plagues. Hundreds of religious members of the Order died of the plague, cholera or typhus, which they contracted while tending to the sick. Clearly it was a different time period, and there were less precautions than there are today. But they risked their lives nonetheless. We consider them martyrs of charity.”

Every May 25, the Camillians remember the martyrs of charity, people who have risked their lives serving the sick in a selfless expression of charity.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi