Saint Camillus de Lellis was born on May 25 1550 in Bocchiavico, Abruzzi, Kingdom of Naples, Italy. He was the founder of the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick and Poor (the Camellians). He died on July 14 1614 at Genoa, Italy. His feast day is celebrated on July 14 in the rest of the world and July 18 in the United States.
|Saint Camillus de Lellis Biography|
|Date of Birth||May 25 1550|
|Place of Birth||Bocchiavico, Abruzzi, Kingdom of Naples, Italy|
|Profession||Priest and Care giver of the sick and the wounded|
|Place of Work||Italy|
|Date of Death||July 14 1614|
|Place of Death||Genoa, Italy|
|Feast Day||July 14 and July 18 in the US|
|Beatification||By Pope Benedict XIV on April 7 1742 in Papal States, Rome|
|Canonization||By Pope Benedict XIV on June 29 1746 in Papal States, Rome|
|Patron Saint of||
St Camillus de Lellis Life History
St Camillus de Lellis was born in Bucchianico in Abruzzo, Italy on May 25 1550. His hot-tempered father was an officer in the French royal and Neapolitan armies and therefore was mostly away from home.
His mother was called Camilla Compelli de Laureto and was advanced in age (around fifty years) when she gave birth to Camillus. Camillus was very hot-tempered, just like his father, and his mother was mostly unable to control him as he was growing. His mother died in 1562 and he was taken care of by other family members who continually neglected him.
At the age of sixteen years, he joined the Venetian army and fought against the Turks. It is in these wars that he was wounded in the leg and this wound would not heal. In 1575, his unit in the army was disbanded and after that, he gambled all his possessions. Having been left penniless, the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia gave Camillus work as a laborer.
He still continued to gamble his wages away but the guardian at the Capuchin friary tolerated him, preached to him, and persuaded him to stop gambling. In 1575, he had a religious conversion and wanted to enter the novitiate of the Capuchin friars but because of his incurable wound in the leg, which troubled him a lot, he was denied admission.
He went to Rome and started working as a caregiver in the San Giacomo Hospital, which cared for desperate and incurable cases. After some time, he was rewarded with the position of Superintendent. All this time at San Giacomo Hospital, St Camillus de Lellis continued with his strict and pious life, full of penance under the guidance of the local priest St Philip Neri.
His call to take care of the poor and the sick continued to manifest itself and eventually, he organized a group of other pious men and guided them on how to serve God through taking care of the sick at the hospital.
St Camillus de Lellis eventually, felt the desire to establish a religious community to take care of the sick and consequently, with the approval of St Philip Neri, started his seminary studies. In 1584, he was ordained as a priest by Lord Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St Asaph, Wales.
In 1586, Pope Sixtus V gave the Camillians (or Order of Clerics Regular, Ministers to the Sick) formal recognition as a congregation. They have a vow that says “to serve the sick, even with danger to one’s own life.” Up to today, the large red cross on their cassock remains their Congregation symbol as a universal symbol of service and charity. It is said that the Cross spoke to Camillus, and asked him, “Why are you afraid? Do you not realize that this is not your work but mine?” This Red Cross symbol is now being used by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements.
In 1601, the Camillians were taking care of the wounded in their tent, during the Battle of Canizza. Unfortunately, their tent which was full of equipment and supplies caught fire and was razed to the ground. The only thing that remained intact was the red cross of a religious habit belonging to one of the Camillians. This rubberstamped their belief that their mission of the Red Cross of St Camillus was divine.
The Camillians took care of the victims of the Bubonic plague and it is at this time that the residents of Rome recognized St Camillus De Lellis for helping tame the plague in the city of Rome. He was occasionally referred to as the “Saint of Rome”.
St Camillus De Lellis realized that due to haste some sick people and the wounded would be buried alive. He instructed the Camillians that they wait fifteen minutes after the patients look like they have died and continue with the prayers for the dying, in order to avoid this.
Despite his ailing leg, he would not delay anyone when they went to take care of the sick and wounded. He would crawl when his leg wouldn’t support him. In 1607, he resigned as Superior General of the Order and took the lower rank of Vicar General.
St Camillus de Lellis Birth
St Camillus de Lellis was born at Bocchianico, Italy. He fought for the Venetians against the Turks, was addicted to gambling, and by 1574 was penniless in Naples.
St Camillus de Lellis Death
The Camillians order had spread all over Italy and on one occasion in 1614, while on a tour to inspect all the hospitals of the Order in Italy, St Camillus de Lellis fell ill and died in Genoa, Italy on July 14 1614.
Saint Camillus de Lellis remains are located in the altar in the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Rome, Italy.
St Camillus De Lellis Feast Day
Initially, the feast of St Camillus De Lellis was celebrated on July 18. After 1969, it was made an optional memorial and moved to July 14, the day of his death. Because on July 14 there is the obligatory Memorial of Kateri Tekakwitha, the Church in the United States celebrate his memorial on July 18
Churches, Places, features and institutions named after St Camillus De Lellis
- United Doctors of Saint Camillus de Lellis Hospital, Batangas City, Philippines
- Town Of Camillus, New York
- The Congregation of the Servants of the Sick of St Camillus
- St. Camillus College of Manaoag, Luzon, Philippines
- St Camillus rehabilitation and nursing home in Syracuse, New York
- St Camillus Health Center, in Massachusetts, USA
- St Camillus Health Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
- St Camillus Hall at Holy Family Hospital, Methuen, Massachusetts, USA
- St Camillus College of Manaoag Foundation, Inc. in Manaoag, Pangasinan, Philippines
- St Camillus Centre in Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho
- St Camillus Academy – Corbin, Kentucky, USA
- St Camille Association, West Africa
- Secular Institutes of Missionaries of the Sick Christ Our Hope, of the Kamillianische Schwestern (Camillan Sisters)
- San Camillo de Lellis Church, Rome, Italy
- Saint-Camille-de-Lellis Catholic Parish, Quebec, Canada
- Saint-Camille Town, Quebec, Canada
- Saint Camillus Medical Center, in Hurst, Texas
- Saint Camillus Foundation, in Thailand, including the Camillian social center in Rayong
- Lay Camillian Family, were born later of the charism and spirituality of De Lellis.
- Daughters of St Camillus
- Camillian Hospital, in Bangkok, Thailand
- Camillian Family Foundation in Philippines
St Camillus de Lellis is often depicted in art form as a Catholic priest holding a sick person
St Camillus de Lellis is the Patron Saint of
- Sick people
- Hospital workers
- Against sickness
- Against illness
- Against bodily ills
- Abruzzi, Italy
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