The Italian Church celebrates the four hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Camillus de Lellis

With joy we publish the message of Don Carmine Arice, the Director of the National Office for Pastoral Care in Health of the Italian Bishop’s Conference, which has been sent to us on the occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Camillus


With the Camillian family, the Italian Church celebrates the four hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Camillus de Lellis

Rome, 14 July, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene




When looking at the history of the Church we can observe how much Divine Providence has been generous in its gifts of so many saints of charity – amongst these we remember this year St. Camillus on the occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of his death.

This extraordinary jubilee year has a special relevance for the Camillian Community and for the whole of the Church, and in particular for the ItalianChurch, which is honoured by this witness to faith. Indeed, this is a year when we should be joyful and jubilant, and express gratitude for the gift of his holiness, but it is also an opportunity to look at this example and allow ourselves again to be inspired by his life. Indeed, even in these changed circumstance, the message of St. Camillus is as of much contemporary relevance as it has ever been because the gospel page of the Good Samaritan has still not convinced us sufficiently not to be indifferent to the unfortunate people of history whom we meet when travelling down our roads.

What Pope Francesco writes in Evangelii Gaudium is of striking relevance: ‘Sometimes we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. He hopes that we will stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune and instead enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated and we experience intensely what it is to be a people, to be part of a people’  (n. 270).

The life of St. Camillus was wonderfully complicated with an extraordinary and manly capacity for tenderness. The contemporary relevance of his message is surprising and his words, repeated to his followers and repeated as a motto of this jubilee year – ‘more heart in those hands’ –  are an eloquent summary of his teaching: competent, practical and generous care (hands) is necessary but it is not sufficient. A sick person needs care from the heart, care that involves humanity, meaningful relationships and authentic relationships.

16,30The meeting of Sunday 25 May 2014 will not seek only to celebrate and thank the Lord for the holiness of one of the most illustrious sons of the Italian Church: it also wants to be an opportunity to allow us to be inspired once again by his example and his capacity to unite intelligence, the heart and action at the service of integral care – for the bodies and the souls – of sick people. This is something we know: our time is a difficult time when, as Pope Francis has often reminded us, economic and financial factors run the risk of producing choices that do not always put the person and his or her needs at the centre of things. At his epoch, St. Camillus also ‘denounced’ inadequate care for the sick and the low quality of health care, but he did this more through facts than through words. The charity of Christ known as a supreme good, led him to practical, attentive and generous charity towards the suffering members of the body of Christ. This was an example that swept up and involved numerous disciples who followed in the saint’s footsteps. The Company of the Servants of the Sick was created, the original name of the Order that was not yet approved, and became the Order of the Ministers of the Sick. From this generative tree arose numerous religious families. This is a heritage of faith and charity that we cannot forget, and which we cannot dissipate.

The meeting of 25 May 20014, which has been organised under the patronage of the National Office for Pastoral Care in Health, will have its culminating point in the celebration of the Eucharist which will be presided over by the General Secretary of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Nunzio Galantino.


Don Carmine Arice

CEI- Director UNPS

Look here at the press information