Genesis 46.1-7,28-30; Psalm 36; Matthew 10.16-23
Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614) was born in Bucchiamico, Italy (then part of the Kingdom of Naples); his father was an officer in the Neapolitan Army. Camillus spent his youth as a soldier of fortune. Left penniless through gambling, he eventually found employment at a hospital for incurables run by the Capuchins in Manfredonia. Because of infirmity caused by a leg that had been wounded in battle, he wasn’t accepted for the Capuchin novitiate. He moved to Rome, worked in a hospital, and led a life of extreme ascetic practices. He took as his spiritual director and confessor St Philip Neri, who encouraged him to enter seminary and seek holy orders. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1584 by Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St Asaph and the last surviving Catholic bishop of Great Britain.
Shortly after his ordination he founded the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm. Better known as the Camillians, this order continues today, their unique fourth vow—‘to serve the sick, even at the risk of their own lives’—defining their particular apostolate. Camillus de Lellis was canonised by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746; Pope Leo XIII declared him the patron of the sick and of hospitals.