Who was Camillus?

Who was St. Camillus?

International links

return to entree

Camillus de Lellis' death-mask

Camillus de Lellis

Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614) was a soldier of profession. Descent from the rough provence called Abruzzen on the east side of Rome, fighting in wars was all he knew and all he wanted.

Due to a severe wound on his foot which didn’t heal, he ended up in a Hospital for the chronically ill in Rome. The healthcare in this hopital was in a deplorable state, patients were left abandoned and prisoners from a nearby prison serving a community service and  those patients who were able to walk took care for those who couln’t.

Camillus wasn’t in the mood for helping others out, he was disgusted by their swores and odeur. He felt more like gambling, drinking, chasing women and playing cards.

Due to his lack of compassion towars others he was send away and had to start begging for food or money. This excistence like a bagger was nothing to him but as a proud soldier he had never learned any labor skills. On the 2nd of februari 1572 Camillus dicided to return to Rome. On his was a total conversion overcame him. He returned to the hospital of St James, and willingly started taking care for other patients. A 180% conversion to who he was before. A new sound of releave and a breeze of fresh air blew through the hospitalwards, which were crowded with patients. After a short while this former gambler and bagger became the warden of this hospital, and he was left in charge of the daily business of the hospital.

Camillus exsample was inspiring for many. More and more people wanted to be involved and started helping out in caring for the sick, praying or donating money. 

Some of them wanted to dedicate their lives to the sick, the poor and the needy, just like Camillus. Together they started the congregation “servants of the sick”. Together they populated the hospitals of Rome and worked in peoples homes. The whole population of Rome adored Camillus aspeccialy the poor and the sick. He was some sort of hero to them. His peacefull revolution in healthcare spread first through Rome but later trhough the whole of Italy.

St. Camillus’ message of recentless presence in a suffering world is still the message today becouse of the so called ‘business aproach’ of the healt systems.