A Prayer to St. Camillus de Lellis

For the sick poor

St. Camillus de Lellis. (Public domain)
St. Camillus de Lellis. Public domain

Born in 1550 in Italy to a noble family, St. Camillus de Lellis proved too rowdy for his chosen profession—a soldier in the Venetian army. Gambling and dissolute living, along with a leg wound he received while fighting against the Turks, eventually took a toll on his health. Working as a laborer for a band of Capuchin friars, Saint Camillus was converted by a sermon delivered by one of the friars.

He attempted, twice, to enter the Capuchin order, but he was denied because of his leg wound, which had proved incurable.

Entering the Hospital of San Giacomo (Saint James) at Rome as a patient, he began to care for other patients and eventually became the director of the hospital. His spiritual director, St. Philip Neri, approved his desire to found a religious order dedicated to ministering to the sick poor, and Saint Camillus was ordained to the priesthood in 1584. He founded the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers to the Sick, known today as the Camillians. The patron saint of the sick, hospitals, nurses, and physicians, Saint Camillus died in 1614, was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742, and canonized by the same pope four years later.

While this prayer is appropriate to pray at any time of the year, it can also be prayed as a novena in preparation for the Feast of Saint Camillus (July 14 on the universal calendar, or July 18 on the calendar for the United States).

Begin the novena on July 5 (or July 9, in the United States) to end it on the eve of the Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis.

Prayer to St. Camillus de Lellis for the Sick Poor

O glorious Saint Camillus, special patron of the sick poor, thou who for forty years, with truly heroic charity, didst devote thyself to the relief of their temporal and spiritual necessities, be pleased to assist them now even more generously, since thou art blessed in heaven and they have been committed by Holy Church to thy powerful protection. Obtain for them from Almighty God the healing of all their maladies, or, at least, the spirit of Christian patience and resignation that they may sanctify them and comfort them in the hour of their passing to eternity; at the same time obtain for us the precious grace of living and dying after thine example in the practice of divine love. Amen.