Blessed Catholic Saints and Angels

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Saint Camillus of Lellis , Confessor and Religious Founder

Saint Camillus de LellisImage via WikipediaMissa "Majórem hæc dilectiónem"

Saint Camillus venerated the sick as living images of Christ, and by ministering to them in this spirit did penance for the sins of his youth. He led a life precious in merit, and from a violent and quarrelsome soldier became a gentle and tender Saint.

Saint Camillus' 65 year old mother had a dream that a yet unborn son of hers would wear a red cross on his chest, leading many others wearing that same emblem. She knew in her heart that this was a sign from God and did everything in her power and influence to facilitate God's wishes. She even went so far as to give birth to Saint Camillus in a stable, in an effort to receive favors from the Holy Family. Despite this most auspicious start in life, Saint Camillus led the life of a rebellious teenager, falling into the ways of street gangs of the time.

At the age of 19, he joined the army to fight against the Turks under the military command of his father. In battle,Saint Camillus injured his leg. This injury never properly healed, leaving an open wound that would plague him the rest of his life. He made trips back and forth from the hospital in Rome and the army, but as the cures were only short-lived, he was discharged from the army. Completely broke due to a gambling habit he acquired in the army,Saint Camillus resorted to begging in the streets.

Its usefulness was soon felt, not only in hospitals, but in private houses. Summoned at every hour of the day and night, the devotion of Camillus never grew cold. With a woman’s tenderness he attended to the needs of his patients. He wept with them, consoled them, and prayed with them. He knew miraculously the state of their souls; and St. Philip saw angels whispering to two Servants of the Sick who were consoling a dying person. One day a sick man said to the Saint, “Father, may I beg you to make up my bed? it is very hard.” Camillus replied, “God forgive you, brother! You beg me! Don’t you know yet that you are to command me, for I am your servant and slave.” “Would to God,” he would cry, “that in the hour of my death one sigh or one blessing of these poor creatures might fall upon me!” His prayer was heard. He was granted the same consolations in his last hour which he had so often procured for others.

 One day, a member of the Cathedral of Monfredonia saw Saint Camillus outside the cathedral's gates and he immediately took pity on Saint Camillus, giving him a job as an assistant to a mason. While in that capacity repairing a monastery,Saint Camillus met the Capuchin Fathers. It was the influence of these man that resulted in his conversion and repentance.
Saint Camillus later joined that same monastery; however, due to the recurring problems with his ulcerated leg, Saint Camillus was forced to take leaves of absence and was finally dismissed.Saint Camillus returned home. He was never cured. He devoted the rest of his life to helping the sick and was ordained in 1584. During his final years,Saint Camillus suffered from many other painful ailments, including a rupture, renal colic and stomach cramps. The origin of the Red Cross symbol we are so familiar with today is the symbol in his mother's dreams. It became the symbol for the Order of Ministers of the Sick which was founded by Saint Camillus in 1586.

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