THE P RTAL November 2016 Page 19 St Camillus de Lellis Donato Tallo has been thinking about the Patron of the sick and Healthcare workers T he church of Santa Maria Maddalena can be found in the Piazza della Maddalena, a short distance from the Pantheon in central Rome. Here in this small and beautiful church lie the mortal remains of St Camillus de Lellis. Camillus was born in the year 1550. He was a soldier in his younger days and reports suggest he was physically a very large individual. Camillus had a problem with gambling when he was young; he also suffered from a lower leg wound which was sustained during his military service and which caused him many problems. After his military service, Camillus worked in manual labour. At the age of 25 he was converted to the faith and later entered the novitiate of a community of Capchuin Friars in Italy. However, he did not pursue his vocation within the order. Camillus later worked at the hospital of San Giacomo in Rome and was said to be highly dedicated to the care for the sick and the dying. After beginning his work at the hospital, Camillus subsequently dedicated his entire life to the care of the sick and dying and seeking to make healthcare better. Fr Philip Neri, who of course later became St Philip Neri, was spiritual advisor and confessor to Camillus. After working in a variety of different healthcare roles, in his mid thirties Camillus was ordained to the priesthood. He later founded a religious order called the Servants of the Sick (better known as the Camillians). The congregation was approved by the Holy See in 1586 and raised to the rank of an order in 1591 with Camillus as its first superior. The order founded by Camillus is still very much active to this day although Camillus himself died in 1614. Camillus was an individual who saw the face of Christ when he saw people in need and clearly someone who cared deeply for the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of those who were sick or dying, believing that in serving the sick and dying, Jesus Christ himself was being served. Camillus was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742 and canonised in 1746. He is invoked as the patron of the sick, healthcare workers and hospitals. His feast day is 14th July. Whenever I am in Rome, I always make sure I visit the church of Santa Maria Maddalena and stop to pray at the burial site of St Camillus. I find great inspiration in the life of this facilitating Saint. St Camillus de Lellis, pray for us all ... and especially for the sick, the dying and for those who care for them.