(1550 - 1614)
Ordinary Time: July 18th
St. Camillus was born of a noble family of Chieti in Italy. His
mother was nearly sixty years old when he was born (1550). As a
youth, he gave himself to the sinful pleasures of this world. He
became penniless because of an addiction to gambling.
His conversion dates from the feast of the Purification, 1575. Two
attempts to enter the Capuchin Order were frustrated by an incurable
sore on his leg. In Rome, St. Camillus was received in a hospital
for incurables; before long, he was put in charge because of his
ability and zeal for virtue. He brought to the sick every imaginable
kind of spiritual and bodily aid.
At the age of thirty-two, he began studying for Holy Orders, and was
not ashamed of being numbered with children. After ordination to the
holy priesthood, he founded a congregation of Regular Clerics, the
"Ministers to the Sick." As a fourth vow, the community assumed the
duty of caring for the plague-ridden at the risk of their lives.
With invincible patience, Camillus persevered day and night in the
service of the sick, performing the meanest of duties. His love
shone forth most brightly when the city of Rome was stricken by
epidemic and famine, and when the plague raged at Nola.
Having suffered five different maladies, which he called God's
mercy, he died in Rome at the age of sixty-five. On his lips was the
prayer for the dying: "May the face of Christ Jesus shine gloriously
upon you." Leo XIII declared him the heavenly patron of hospitals
and added his name in the litany for the dying.
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch