Saint Camillus de Lellis

Feast day: July 18

Camillus, the poor nobleman's son, rose to fame as a soldier of fortune and a compulsive gambler. He was diagnosed with a lifelong limb condition when he was 17 years old. He entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables in Rome as both a patient and a servant, but after nine months he was expelled for fighting. He spent three years in the Venetian army.

He worked for the Capuchins in Manfredonia on a new structure they were constructing after the war. His previous gambling behavior persisted until he was so shocked by the convent guardian's speech that he decided to change. He was accepted into the order as a lay brother but was shortly expelled due to his illness. He returned to Rome, checked into the hospital where he had previously been treated, and after receiving a temporary cure for his illness, began working as a nurse. After earning the respect of the hospital through his piety and wisdom, he was later named the head of the facility.

The remainder of Camillus' life was devoted to helping the sick. He studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34 on the recommendation of his friend Saint Philip Neri. Instead of following his friend's counsel, Camillus left San Giacomo and started his own congregation. He spent a lot of his own time taking care of the sick as a superior.

The first field medical unit was sent by Camillus to care for injured soldiers in Croatia and Hungary. He was severely ill for several years, resigned from his position as the Order's superior in 1607, and passed away on July 14 in Rome, the same year that he attended a General Chapter there. His feast day is July 18. He was canonized in 1746; he and St. John of God were named patrons of the sick by Pope Leo XIII; and nurses and nursing organizations by Pope Pius XI.

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