Saint Camillus of Lellis

[Saint Camillus de Lellis]Also known as

  • Camillus de Lellis
  • Camillo de Lellis

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Son of a military officer who had served both for Naples and France. His mother died when Camillus was very young. He spent his youth as a soldier, fighting for the Venetians against the Turks, and then for Naples. Reported as a large individual, perhaps as tall as 6’6″ (2 metres), and powerfully built, but he 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 noviate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, each time forced him to give it up. He went to Rome, Italy for medical treatment where Saint Philip Neri became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator. Lacking education, he began to study with children when he was 32 years old. Priest. Founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick (the Camillians or Fathers of a Good Death) who, naturally, care for the sick both in hospital and home. The Order expanded with houses in several countries. Camillus honoured the sick as living images of Christ, and hoped that the service he gave them did penance for his wayward youth. Reported to have the gifts of miraculous healing and prophecy.

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Readings

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

Let me begin with holy charity. It is the root of all the virtues and Camillus’ most characteristic trait. I can attest that he was on fire with this holy virtue – not only toward God, but also toward his fellow men, and especially toward the sick. The mere sight of the sick was enough to soften and melt his heart and make him utterly forget all the pleasures, enticements, and interests of this world. When he was taking care of his parents, he seemed to spend and exhaust himself completely, so great was his devotion and compassion. He would have loved to take upon himself all their illness, their every affliction, could he but ease their pain and relieve their weakness. In the sick he saw the person of Christ. His reverence in their presence was as a great as if he were really and truly in the presence of his Lord. To enkindle the enthusiasm of his religious brothers for this all-important virtue, he used to impress upon them the consoling words of Jesus Christ: “I was sick and you visited me.” He seemed to have these words truly graven on his heart, so often did he say them over and over again. Great and all-embracing was Camillus’ charity. Not only the sick and dying, but every other needy or suffering human being found shelter in his deep and kind concern. - from a biography of Saint Camillus by a contemporary

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Camillus of Lellis“. Saints.SQPN.com. 19 September 2014. Web. 24 September 2014. <>