Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saint Camillus of Lellis

Saint Camillus of Lellis (also known as Camillus de Lellis; Camillo de Lellis) was born in 1550 A.D. at Bocchiavico, Abruzzi, the kingdom of Naples, Italy. He was the son of a military officer who had served both Naples and France. His mother died when he was very young. Camillus spent his youth as a soldier, fighting for the Venetians against the Turks, and then for Naples. He was reported as a large individual, perhaps as tall as 6'6", and powerfully built, but suffered all his life from abscesses on his feet. A gambling addict, he lost so much he had to take a job working construction on a building belonging to the Capuchins. They converted him.

Camillus entered the Capuchin novitiate three times, but a nagging leg injury that he received while fighting the Turks, forced him to give up each time. He went to Rome for medical treatment where he met Saint Philip Neri who became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator. Lacking an education, he began to study with children when he was 32 years old.

Camillus tried to found a lay order of hospital caregivers but failed. He decided to become a priest and was ordained in 1582. In 1584, Camillus founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick (the Camellians) who care for the sick in both hospitals and homes. It was approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1586 and erected into an order by Pope Gregory XIV in 1591. The order expanded with houses in several countries, and today it maintains a website, Camillus honored the sick as living images of Christ, and hoped that the service he gave them did penance for his wayward youth. Camillus was reported to have the gifts of miraculous healing and prophecy.

Saint Camillus of Lellis died of natural causes on July 14, 1614 at Genoa, Italy. His relics are in the Church of Saint Mary Magdalen at Rome.


  1. Fr. Steve Chobo12:46 PM

    I am grateful to read about St Camillus, who took great aspirational work with the sick. I would like to pray through his intercession that he especially pray for me as I dream to train in medicine. Is there any novena prayer through St Camillus?

  2. Father Chobo, I found several novenas to Saint Camillus by searching on Google. Most relate to the sick or dying such as this one on Catholic Culture:

    I also looked at the Camillian Order website, but found no prayers there:

    Steve Smith


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