Camillus of Lellis

1550-1614. Founder of the Ministers of the Sick. A soldier's son, he was born at Bucchiano near Naples. After serving in the Venetian army (1571-74), he was reduced to penury because of inveterate gambling and worked for the Capuchins* until dismissed because of an incurable wound. He nursed at the hospital of San Giacomo and eventually became its superintendent. Deeply influenced by Philip Neri,* he was persuaded to study for the priesthood and in 1584 founded his own order, the Ministers of the Sick, who took a fourth vow to care for the sick. Officially approved in 1586, the order followed the Augustinian Rule, and until 1607 Camillus was its superior. He resigned to devote himself personally again to the sick. Canonized in 1746, he was named patron of the sick (1886) and of nurses (1930).