Father Camillus’ tenderness in the family

By Fr. Felice Ruffini, in Camillianum – Books of Camillian History and Spirituality – N 30s, 2010, pp.391- 406

The love and tenderness of St. Camillus for the sick is greatly exalted and celebrated. The many authors who wrote about his life dedicate ample space to the peculiar act of Faith to see “the face of Christ” in the suffering face of the sick person whom he served. The witnesses questioned for the Canonic Processes of his “Beatification and Canonization”, especially his Religious, all agree on the parameter par excellence of human love as that of a mother for her child.

It is a component of his spirituality that deserves a specific study, and we hope that someone will do it quam primum. It has not only human roots, which would be ordinary philanthropy though laudable. It has theological roots that have progressively developed since February 2, 1575, the day of his “Conversion”; as he loved to remember and celebrate. These roots go down to the merciful love of Heavenly Father reserved for him, thanks to the mediation of the Immaculate Mother of the Incarnate Word. What a sublime “charism” the Crucifix had given him to be the credible Witness in the context of a sick and suffering humanity!

But, what was his behavior with his religious? Is it possible to discover his “tenderness in the family”? It’s a nice question! Actually in the long road of my “memories” I do not find a hint. Rather! … emerges the figure of a father Camillus, with the “Holy Rules” in his hands against the ten disobedient religious, fired for “having done breakfast in the Holy Spirit Hospital without permission”.

With the passing of the years and the possibility of accessing the original sources, came the comforting discovery that Father Camillus was “something else”. The Camillian historian Fr. Sanzio Cicatelli, as a witness to the “Canonic Processes”, gives an “effective snapshot”:  “He was unique in consoling his subjects, and with his prudence and kindness he made many, who were already tempted to leave, remain in the Order “. And in fact, if we dedicate ourselves to do a research in the abundant heritage of historical sources, consisting of his writings and ancient biographies, and of testimonies of those who attended him, will emerge a Father Camillus, who “in the family” has the same “tenderness”, he lived outside …  Continue reading here