Coronavirus: France’s ancient burial brotherhood defies Covid-19

The Covid-19 epidemic and the risk of infection have led to new rules in many countries about how we treat the dead. In France, like anywhere else, the restrictions make the process of bereavement even more difficult to bear.

In B├ęthune, in the northern part of the country, the Charitable Brothers of Saint-Eloi were founded in the 12th century, during the Black Death, to help families bury their loved ones.

More than 800 years on, the Brotherhood is not just about folklore; it’s part of the city’s daily life and death. And its work is more relevant than ever in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.