Birthday of St. Camillus

The Birthday of Camillus is celebrated on May 25.
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Camillus was born on a Sunday, May 25, 1550. On this day Camilla though physically unfit went to Church to celebrate the combined feast of St. Urban and Pentecost. During the elevation of the sacred host she felt labor pain and her friends assisted her home praying specially to Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi to whom Camilla had great devotion. Surprisingly she had to give birth to her son in a stable. Since it was difficult to reach the house. The neighbors and whole village stood speechless at this miraculous event. The father, captain and commander of the local army hurried off home to see the newly-born. Some days later the babe was carried to the church to be baptized with all the solemnity. The boy was named Camillus after the mother, a name which already indicated the ways of Divine Providence, that is: a servant of the sick. Lady Elizabeth, or Saint Elizabeth as the good people of Bucchianico used to call the pious mother of Camillus on account of giving birth to a child at her advanced age, wished to bring up her son in the fear of God. But she slowly lost the grip of her son, when his cousins especially Onofrio invited him to play. Camillus preferred the streets and distractions of his friends to the more composed habits and quietness of his home. Camillus, on the streets, was the king of gamblers, the leader of every hazardous enterprise and the predominant personality in unruly scenes. When only thirteen, he was so tall and robust that none of his colleagues could match his size, much less look down on him. This character of Camillus increased the fear of the mother for she was often reminded of her dream. His distressed mother on her death bed exclaimed: “Oh, my Son, will you be then the cross I dreamt of, and the downfall of our family. Shall my tears and prayers be in vain ?” Camillus was only thirteen or fourteen years when his mother died with a heart heavy with the fearful dream. Camillus was little disturbed by his mother’s death. There did remain, however, embedded in his memory like a nail, that dream of hers about the cross. His fighting spirit, a part of his very nature, was enflamed by the many tales of his warring father as well as by the wars which rent Italy in those days. Eventually it led the dynamic youth to enroll in the army.

When only seventeen years he went off withhis father to fight against the Turks at Lepanto.At Ancona, however, the father became sick andin a few days died. Father left nothing out for the young Camillus even a house to lay down, but his father’s last words touched Camillus, “May God watch over you, live an honest life as your mother taught you.” The death of his father profoundly affected him, for he was even heartbroken now than at the death of his mother. His right leg was wounded due to his long fatigue journey on foot for the war. It started with a small blister in his left foot and when it dried up in the same area of the right foot another blister formed. It was considered as a special wound and the modern physicians would have diagnosed as very cankerous varicose vein. He stayed at the hospital of St. James to treat this wound. At the end of 1571, he left again for the war, fighting in Dalmatia and Africa. The cards and dice were always near at hand. Three times he had close escapes from death: during an epidemic in Dalmatia, at the siege of Goletta in Africa and in an unforgettable storm at sea. Each time he resolved to change his life, but his passion for gambling soon overcame his good resolutions. Like a violent fever, it played a havoc with this ardent young man. He gambled away his paternal patrimony, his military equipment, his arms and evenhis very shirt. Towards the late Autumn of 1574, discharged from the army and without any capacity or desire to work, ragged and half-naked, Camillus left Naples and later Rome. He turned his steps towards Barletta in the hope of finding some employment. At Manfredonia, on November 30, while he was begging for alms at the door of the cathedral, a gentleman offered him the job of mason’s helper. After some hesitation, he accepted and found himself in close contact with the Capuchin Fathers, whose monastery was under repair. Two donkeys were placed at his disposal to draw stones and gravel. Mortified and discontented, he had to fight strenuously for self-control. To adapt himself to this hated labor he often went so far as to bite his hands out of sheer anger. Necessity kept him at his work, without, however, inducing him to live with the Friars: although one of the older fathers had offered him keep and clothing because of the rigorous cold. Camillus preferred the biting winds to such charity. His obstinate soldier’s heart did not yet heed Cod’s calling.

St. Camillus: Saint of the Red Cross

St. Camillus: Saint of the Red Cross I

23rd December 2016

story of St. Camillus I read more

St.Camillus: A Humble Brother II

24th December 2016

Camillus returned to the monastery read more

St.Camillus: The Priest III

25th December 2016

Reassured by the miracle of the Crucifix read more

St.Camillus: Advocate of the Poor IV

26th December 2016

The Red Cross of the Ministers read more

Heart of St.Camillus V

27th December 2016

He lived the last six months read more

Camillian Thoughts

  • Poor & Sick: St.Camillus Thoughts

    “The poor and the sick are the heart of God. In serving them, we serve Jesus the Christ.” St. Camillus De Lellis read more

  • Serving: St.Camillus Thoughts

    The sick we are serving will one day cause us to see the face of God. St. Camillus De Lellis read more

  • Sick

    Sick are our Lords and Masters. Hospitals are the mystical vineyard of the Lord. St.Camillus de Lellis read more

  • Heaven

    Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven. St. Camillus de Lellis read more

  • Commitment: St.Camillus Thoughts

    Commitment is doing what you said you would do, after the feeling you said it in has passed. Saint Camillus De Lellis read more

Camillian Video

Red Cross and Sore Leg: Drama I

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