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Saint Camillus de Lellis Icon Print

Saint Camillus de Lellis ready to frame print

Camillus de Lellis was born in Italy in 1550. His mother was fifty when he was born, and his father, an army officer, was often away. Camillus himself was large for his age and had a fiery temper. His mother found it hard to control him even before her death when he was twelve years old. Despite his young age, Camillus began to accompany his father on military campaigns and by the age of sixteen he was fighting as a soldier in the Venetian army in wars against the Turks.

In 1575, Camillus' regiment was disbanded. He was twenty-five years old, with an unhealed wound in his leg, a bad temper, and a chronic gambling habit which left him impoverished. For a time he was treated in one of Rome's religious hospitals, but he was kicked out for quarrelsome behavior. At last, he found a job with the Capuchins as a laborer. After working for the friars for a time, he had a religious conversion and sought to enter the order, but he was turned down on the basis of physical infirmity due to his still unhealed wound.

However, with his new commitment to living a life centered on Christ, he was able to take and hold a job as a caregiver at the San Giacomo Hospital. Seeing the treatment and conditions to which many patients were subjected inspired Camillus to found his own religious order focused on caring for the sick. He was ordained in 1584 and founded the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm, usually called the Camillians for short. The order, with their distinctive habits emblazoned with a large red cross, provided medical assistance to soldiers in war and managed hospitals in cities throughout Italy. Today there are over a thousand Camillians working in 42 countries.

Camillus died in Rome in 1614. A cause for his sainthood was opened, and he was canonized in 1746. His feast day is on July 14th. He is the patron of health care workers and gamblers.

In this icon, Saint Camillus is shown in the habit of the order. Behind him is the large red cross which is on the habits of the order and has become a symbol for all health care workers. He holds a skull, which is often shown in Church art as a memonto mori, a reminder of the inevitability of death.

Ready to frame print. Professionally printed and ready to frame for your church or home.

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