St. Camillus de Lellis
Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excesive love for gambling. At 17 he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome, he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years. Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, he gambled away everything he had–savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his whole life. He entered the Capuchin movitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.
Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. He devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick, and has been named, along with St. John of God, patron of hospitals, nurses and the sick. With the advice of his friend St. Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, he left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.
Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. He insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.
He himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.
A doctor in Philadelphia is a modern-day Camillus. An AP news story reports that the 31-year-old bachelor does not have an office, and gave up a lucrative health center job to treat the chronically ill in the inner city who cannot get to a clinic. He limits his practice to house calls in that inner city neighborhood.
Saints are created by God. Parents must indeed nurture the faith in their children; husbands and wives must cooperate to deepen their baptismal grace; friends must support each other. But all human effort is only the dispensing of divine power. We must all "try" as if everything depended on us. But only the power of God can fulfill the plan of God–to make us like himself.
Patron Saint of:
Also today, in the Latin Calendar we commemorate S. Symphorosa and her Seven Sons, Martyrs. Click Here for story.
St. Symphorosa, Martyr, at Tivoli, along with Her Sons
Commemorated on July 18
St. Symphorosa lived in the second century and was the widow of St. Getulius. She is commemorated together with their sons, Crescens, Julian, Nemesius, Primitivus, Justin, Stracteus and Eugene.
Her husband, St. Getulius, was a native of Gabii in Sabina. He was an officer in the Roman army, but resigned upon being baptized a Christian, ultimately retiring to his estate near Tivoli. Caerealis, an imperial legate, was sent to arrest him, but was converted to Christianity by St. Getulius. Another officer, Primitivus, was sent to arrest Getulius, but he was also converted.
Upon the orders of Emperor Hadrian, the men were tied to a stake and set alight. The fire did not harm them, so they were brutally clubbed and then beheaded. St. Symphorosa buried their remains in an arenarium on their estate.
Shortly after her husband’s martyrdom, St. Symphorosa and her seven sons were brought before Emperor Hadrian who demanded that they worship the pagan gods. Refusing, St. Symphorosa received a martyr’s crown when, after various tortures, she was thrown into the Anio River with a heavy rock fastened to her neck. Her brother took her remains and buried them alongside her martyred husband.
Each of her sons suffered a different kind of martyrdom: Crescens was pierced through the throat, Julian through the breast, Nemesius through the heart, Primitivus was wounded at the navel, Justinus was pierced through the back, Stracteus was wounded in the side, and Eugenius was cleft in two from top to bottom. Their bodies were thrown into a deep ditch from which they were ultimately recovered by the Christian community.
Getulius’ relics were ultimately moved to Rome, and are in the principal altar of the Church of St. Angelo.
In 752, the relics of St. Symphorosa and her seven sons were also transferred to the Church of St. Angelo in Rome. In 1587, the relics were enclosed in a marble sarcophagus.
Reflection of Christ:
One of the most effective ways to show people how faith brings true freedom is through the witness-value of devoting one's life to the lonely, marginalized or rejected, precisely because the face of Christ is reflected in these people.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
If our staying firmly on our feet depended on us, undoubtedly we would fall into the hands of the enemy of our salvation at the slightest breeze.
During Holy Mass, I saw the Crucified Jesus
February 2, 1937
Today, from early morning, Divine absorption penetrates my soul. During Mass, I thought I would see the little Jesus, as I often do; however, today during Holy Mass I saw the Crucified Jesus. Jesus was nailed to the cross and was in great agony. His suffering pierced me, soul and body, in a manner which was invisible, but nevertheless most painful.
Oh, what awesome mysteries take place during Mass! A great mystery is accomplished in the Holy Mass. With what great devotion should we listen to and take part in this death of Jesus. One day we will know what God is doing for us in each Mass, and what sort of gift He is preparing in it for us. Only His divine love could permit that such a gift be provided for us.
O Jesus, my Jesus, with what great pain is my soul pierced when I see this fountain of life gushing forth with such sweetness and power for each soul, while at the same time I see souls withering away and drying up through their own fault. O Jesus, grant that the power of mercy embrace these souls. - (Diary No. 913-914)