June, July, and August
From Nasty to Nice
A Story of St. Camillus de Lellis
Life Dates: 1550-1614
Feast Day: July 14 (Canada) and July 18 (United States)
Camillus was a nasty guy, He’d get angry, hit someone, and soon there would be a big fight. When he played card games for money and lost, he got mad too.
He was a soldier. When his left got hurt, he went to a hospital. This would change his life.
It was a horrible place, with dirt and germs everywhere, The air was vile, the food revolting, Some workers didn’t care about the sick people and were even cruel to them.
Even nasty Camillus felt badly for the other sick people. Dragging his leg, he hobbled from bed to bed. He wiped feverish foreheads with a cool, wet cloth. He brought drinks of water. He walked gently, comforting and cheering people.
Still, he was so nasty to the people who worked there, they told him to leave! He soon lost all his money again by playing cards, so he looked for a job. As mean as Camillus was, some priests who needed a builder hired him. They soon saw that inside that nasty person was a very good one. Through them, Camillus learned to God loved him—bad temper, bad leg and all! God loved him!
Knowing this, he started a new life. Camillus went back to the hospital to show others this love, He treated the sick people with love and respect—he treated each as if he or she was Jesus himself.
This along made a difference to the patients. He also cleaned floors, washed blankets, opened windows, and made sure the food was good as well as healthy The hospital became a loving place where people could heal.
Others wanted to join him. He agreed and trained them He started eight more hospitals! So many men joined, Camillus had to found fifteen places for them to live. They all worked, treating each person as a precious child of God.
For more information to celebrate St. Camillus with prayer, feasting and artwork, see A Circle of Saints.