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Amid controvery, Order of St. Camillus celebrates 400th anniversary

2014-01-13

In 1525, at the age of 25, Camillus de Lellis stepped foot inside the Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome. It changed his life completely. He had recently converted from a mercenary soldier, to a man devoted to God. 

He was seeking treatment for a festering leg wound. Inside the hospital, he noticed just how bad the sick were cared for. Over the course of the next forty years, he founded the Order of the Regular Clerics Ministers of the Sick. In July 14, 2014, the Order will mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

CARLO MANGIONI
Organizer, Fourth Centennial Celebrations
"When in a family, a person is sick, all the family revolved around that person. That same thing should be true about the Church. The whole Church should revolve around the sick, our most fragile brothers.”

Over the course of 400 years, their message hasn't changed, but their work has. Today, the Order, commonly known as Camillians, works in over 40 different countries, according to the needs of each area. 

The 2800 men and women of the Order spend their lives looking after the most marginalized people in society. And just like St. Camillus, even at the risk of their own lives. 

CARLO MANGIONI
Organizer, Fourth Centennial Celebrations
"We can say that this is the pearl of the Camillian spirituality and charism. There's this complete devotion, even leading up to a person's own life. This a trait that's gone unchanged in over four centuries.”

Coincidentally, Pope Francis will usher the Order into their fifth century of work. In his first few months, he's made clear his devotion and commitment to the sick. His words about caring for the most marginalized people in society ring true for Camillians, more than anyone else.

CARLO MANGIONI
Organizer, Fourth Centennial Celebrations
"It's said that Pope Francis dresses like a Dominican, has the name of a Franciscan, governs like a Jesuit, but talks like Camillians. So there's this fusion of souls, of spirituality, all condensed into one person.”

With the anniversary approaching, the Order has organized a series of events. For the last one, they invited the Pope to join them in Eucharistic Adoration on July 14

The celebration will take place at their main headquarters, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. It's the same place St. Camillus himself lived in Rome, and where he eventually died, after a lifetime of devotion to the people most in need.

The Fourth Centennial celebrations are a bright spot after a troubled time for the Order. Its superior general was arrested in November, accused of kidnapping two fellow members, in order to secure his reelection. The Vatican will oversee the Order until a new leader can be elected at the next general chapter. 


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