Thirtieth anniversary of the Day of Camillian Martyrs of Charity

The 30th anniversary of the Day of the Camillian Martyrs of Charity and the birth anniversary of St. Camillus de Lellis was celebrated on 25th May 2024.

To commemorate the heroic commitment of the Camillians who lost their lives in their service, on Friday 24th May the Secretariat for the Ministry of the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm and the Foundation CADIS (Camillian Disaster Service) International organised the conference “The martyrdom of charity today: challenges and opportunities for the Camillian Charismatic Family”.

It was a moment of reflection to retrace the heroic commitment of the Camillian Martyrs of Charity and to discuss the new challenges through the direct testimonies of those who, today, are at the service of the sick. Almost one hundred participants and eight speakers followed each other in a historical, theological and contemporary review.

After the greetings of the moderator, Fr. Medard Aboue, MI, General Councillor for Ministry, Fr. Pedro Tramontin, MI, Superior General of the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm, shared his greetings and reflection with those present, and then passed the floor to Fr. Felice de Miranda, MI, who, with a historical excursus, reviewed the history and lives of the Martyrs of Charity.

Fr. Aris Miranda, MI, Director CADIS International, shared the Foundation’s humanitarian mission and the importance of continuing to work today. At the conclusion of the first part of the conference, Fr. Giuseppe de Virgilio, biblical scholar, provided a biblical-theological and pastoral reading of the martyrdom of charity.

The second part of the conference resumed with a panel of testimonies by Camillian religious and lay people serving in the most difficult situations: Fr. Mathieu Ouedraogo, MI, medical surgeon in Pescara, recounted his medical and pastoral experience during the first dramatic months of the spread of Covid-19.

Next, Dr. Enrico di Salvo, surgeon and lay missionary, took us around the world to witness his many missions in the most difficult medical and socio-political conditions.

Sister Maria Ruby Chilito Penagos, a nurse from the congregation of the Daughters of St. Camillus, and Sister Teresa Laksanavadee Kitbumrung, a nurse from the congregation of the Sisters of the Infirm of St. Camillus, shared with the audience their work as health workers especially in the delicate phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The day ended with Holy Mass in the Magdalene Church in Rome, presided over by Superior General Fr. Pedro Tramontin. In his homily, he emphasised: “From the very beginning of our history, Camillus and his companions have distinguished themselves not only by serving the sick but especially by serving them in difficult and prohibitive circumstances such as plagues. With great courage, many of them lost their lives for their suffering neighbour, translating that fourth vow into deeds.” Reflecting on the image of the Good Samaritan, Fr. Pedro pointed out that we are all wounded, but by facing our sufferings with humility, we can learn to love more deeply and encourage others to love.