Franciscan friar and volunteer doctor at the service of COVID patients

On 5 May 2020, published an article “From Assisi Friary to Covid Hospital”, an interview with Br. Andrea, Franciscan and volunteer doctor who shares his skills in the service of the sick:

Andrea Dovio, 44 years old, Franciscan, Friar Minor of the Seraphic Province of Umbria. Friar of the Portiuncula Friary in Assisi and a doctor of internal medicine. He graduated in Turin, his hometown, where he later obtained his Doctorate and then specialised in Internal Medicine, working at the “San Luigi” Hospital in Orbassano until he was 32 years old, in 2008, when he felt that his vocation was elsewhere. But what is Father Andrea doing here in Tortona today?


“I am here out of love for the Lord Jesus, because it is from his words and his gestures that the meaning of service flows. During this pandemic, like all my confreres, I felt the need to rethink my activities so that I could help those in need. Immediately, from the second week of March, there was a strong call for me to put my medical skills back at the disposal of those who were in need”.

Friar Andrea was ordained a priest in Assisi by Bishop Domenico Sorrentino on 23 June 2018. He spent the last five years in San Damiano first as a priest and then as vice-master of novices, then at the Portiuncula where he is still Secretary of the Province. It has been a long time since he practised medicine, but he did not forget anything about his work before entering the friary, neither his knowledge nor his approach to the patient.

“At the outbreak of the emergency, I asked myself: how can I serve my neighbour? Listening to the reports of the epidemic and the repeated appeals of the political and health authorities, I felt, on the one hand, the power of the Doctors’ Code of Ethics which in article 8 states that “in the event of catastrophe, calamity or epidemic” the doctor must make himself available. On the other hand, I felt a sense of solidarity with so many friends and colleagues serving at the front line, together with the desire to help the people, the people of God, the sick, as both the Pope and our Provincial Minister have invited us to do. Moreover, history has always seen religious in the front line in plagues, even though I am aware that we are not in the 1600s and certainly some models are not applicable today”.

Friar Andrea, therefore, decided to write to his superior, Friar Claudio Durighetto, asking him to accept his desire to assist those suffering with Covid. “At first I was thinking of the Red Cross, then, knowing your bishop Vittorio and knowing the situation in Tortona, I made my way to this hospital”.

Read the complete text (in Italian) by Matteo Colombo on