Saturday, July 18, 2009

Feast of Saint Camillus de Lellis

We're a little behind the rest of the world on this one, thanks to Blessed Kateri. She and St. Camillus share the same feast date on the Roman Calendar, and so, in the United States, St. Camillus gets bumped to the next available date after the feasts of St. Bonaventure and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. That's today.

St. Camillus (1550-1614) founded the Order of the Servants of the Sick (later to be called the Camillians), and in 1575 his community was given care of a run down church in Rome, Santa Maria Maddalena. In the building attached to the church is the Camilian's Motherhouse, and this is where St. Camillus died on July 14, 1614.

If you visit the church today, just a hop, skip, and jump from the Pantheon, you can see on the outside facade statues of St. Camillus, as well as St. Philip Neri (St. Philip lived in Rome at the same time, and served as St. Camillus' spiritual director, as well as an advisor to the new religious community).

Whilst inside the church, make sure to stop at the tomb of St. Camillus, to the right of the main altar. Also look for the reliquary which contains his heart (gotta love Rome!).

I found this church in 2006, and it moved me in a profound way. Before this, St. Camillus was one of those saints whose feast day was nothing to get excited about (right up there with St. Fidelis of Sygmaringen). To be honest, I only sought out this church because it was one of a handful of the 50 churches named in my all time favorite guidebook that I hadn't visited. Then it hit me: This is a Saint of the Church, a role model for us all. This is where he lived and worked and died. Yes, we've got our Anthonys and our Dominics and our Theréses, and, don't get me wrong, they're wonderful. But we also have these men and women who are equally part of the canon of Saints. Since then I've realized that EVERY Saint is important and deserves my attention.

For that, I thank St. Camillus. (Plus, visiting his tomb gives me the excuse to visit the Tazza D'Oro coffee shop)


Gregor said...

We're a little behind the rest of the world on this one...

On the other hand, you're in synch with the Extraordinary Form, in which St. Camillus is celebrated in all the world today.

Unknown said...

I love St. Camiilus, I have a 5 ft statue of the saint in my home and I have visited the Maddalena Church! Thanks for giving him the attention he deserves!

Anonymous said...

I love tazza d'oro!!
I went to the pantheon but I don't know which church you're talking about.
St Camille is famous with "royalist" french people. Yes there are some royalist french people alive today. And some are even young! Anyway the story is : the 14 of July celebrate teh confederation day, the beginning of democratie in France. It was still a monarchy but with Parliament. Anyway 14 of July became the national day, but some people prefer say all festivities are to honor St Camille.

Charlemagne said...

Fr. Jay,

Fr. Brian Grady and myself were there in '06 also, Feb. to be exact. I still keep a picture of the quote from the text above the crucifix near his reliquary on that altar. It truly is a hidden gem, nestled in the heart of Rome. It was great to see you at the Mount.