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Thursday, July 18, 2013

St. Camillus de Lellis

(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


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