Heart of St.Camillus V

St.Camillus V

He lived the last six months of his life in pre-paring himself for Heaven. Even in those months of fervent preparation his mind turned to his be-loved sick, so much so that he requested the help of his brothers to bring him to the hospital of the Holy Ghost. The visit seemed to refresh him anew. Passing along the wards, he greeted, one by one, his ‘Lords and Masters’ and blessed them. ‘I must take leave now… but my heart will always remain with you’ he told them. Then, over-come with emotion, he was carried home where he awaited his end. At his own request he received Holy Viaticum from the hand of the Cardinal Protector, Ginnasi. In receiving the sacrament he seemed to be transported into a rapture of ecstasy and love. Having received the last anointing by the General Father Nigli, he addressed to his sons, pre- sent and future, this final recommendation; “Perfect charity towards God, towards the sick and towards one another. Absolute fidelity to the Church, to the Rules and to Poverty. Unconditional confidence in Providence whose sons you are among the poor and the sick.”On the evening of July 14, 1614, he sank into a death-like slumber. Yet the Community, gathered around him in prayer, realized that their dying father was following every word of their supplications on his behalf. At the words “with a mild and joyful countenance” he laid his head upon the Crucifix as to seal by this final gesture his fidelity to the divine command: “Persevere… this is my work.”

The death of Father Camillus cast an atmosphere of loneliness over everybody. The poor and sick were inconsolate while Rome grieved bitterly the passing of the Man of charity. All Italy mourned his loss, especially the cities where the Saint had founded houses and left lasting impression in the hospitals. As his remains lay in state, the Romans invoked loudly the lost Father, Benefactor and Saint. The reputation of his wondrous charity did not end with the grave. The poor, needy and afflicted flocked to his graveside to implore his help and intercession. To them Camillus was still alive.

Benedict XIV, in recognition of the heroism of the Founder’s virtues and, in view of the many miracles which God brought through his inter-cession, declared him Blessed in the year 1742. Three years later, the same Pontiff added him to the list of the Saints. The glory of Bernini at St. Peter’s sparkled that day in the illumination of the Saint of the Red Cross who, with outstretched arms, looked down upon the immense, acclaiming crowds below, as if to symbolize his overflowing charity for suffering humanity in all places and for all time. Leo XIII, in the year 1886, proclaimed Saint Camillus Patron of all hospitals and of the sick. Pius XI, in 1930, declared him to be the Model and Protector of all who nurse the sick.

The Ministers of the Sick hold in safe keeping the relics of their Founder and Father which time and man have left intact. In Bucchianico (Chieti), his native country, the paternal home is to this day wonderfully pre-served, particularly that portion associated with his extraordinary birth. The stable is transformed into an ornate chapel in which there hangs a life-like portrait of the Saint. It has become a place of pilgrimage. The people of Bucchianico proudly point out to the visiting pilgrims the garden in which the miracle of beans was performed.

Perhaps more than in any other place of the world the memory of Saint Camillus lives on at the Maddalena, the Mother House in Rome, which was founded by him and where, after thirty years spent there, he died. The High-Altar is surmounted with a large painting of Saint Mary Magdalen by Michael Rocca. Beneath the altar in an artistic bronze urn there lie the venerable remains of the Saint. In the chapel on the right of the High-Altar, the miraculous Crucifix of Saint Camillus is exposed to the veneration of the faithful. Two ornate caskets on either side of the altar contain the precious relics of the heart and sore right foot of the Saint. It has always been the Order’s ambition to maintain possession of the legacy of it’s Father.

Born on April 28, 1860, at Gravedone on the lake Como, Father Henry Rebuschini from his youth had a deep inclination for study and mortification. He was raised to the priest- hood on April 21, 1889. On the 18th of December he pronounced his simple vows and made his solemn profession in 1891. At the age of 78, he died at Cremona on May 10, 1938.