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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 4, 1987     The Message
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December 4, 1987

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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, December 4, 1987 Servant of the sick By Janaan Manternach NO News Service C amillus grew to be a big man. At 6 feet 6 inches he stood a head taller than most men. When Camillus was a child, his father, an army captain, was away much of the time. His mother had died not many years after giving birth to Camillus in 1550. Young Camillus wanted to be a soldier. He also loved to play cards and became addicted to gambling as a teen-ager. His military ambitions were cut short by a painful disease. He developed ulcers on his right leg and foot. The condition was so that 21-year-old Camillus was admitted to the hospital for in- curables in Rome. His leg slowly got better but never healed. Camillus helped out at the hospital as a servant. But after nine months he was dismissed for card playing. In 1574 CamiUus lost everything he owned because of his addiction to gambling. He found a job in a monastery working as a laborer. A monk there urged him to give up gambling and live a better life. Camillus decided to do even better. He asked to become a monk. He was accepted, but soon left because of his diseas- ed leg. Camillus returned to the hospital for more treatment and to work as a servant. He was so good with the patients that in time the hospital administrators appointed Camillus hospital superintendent. He felt God was calling him to devote his life to the sick. His friends urged him to become a priest and he was ordained in 1584. With a few friends, CamiUus founded a new religious communi- ty called "Ministers of the Sick." Camillus and his companions cared for the sick, especially the poor, in a large Roman hospital. They rented a house to take in even more of the city's sick and cared for people infected with the plague, a highly infectious disease. In 1588 Camillus set up a house in the city of Naples, Italy. Ships often came there carrying plague- stricken people. Those ships were not allowed into the harbor be- cause the plague was so con- tagious. The Ministers of the Sick boarded the ships to care for the sick. Two of Camillus' companions died of the plague. After several years as head of his religious community, Camillus resigned to care more directly for the sick. His own sufferings grew steadily worse as he grew older. After years of pain he died in 1614. He was canonized in 1746 for his selfless service to the sick. Each July 14 the church honors St. Camillus de LeUis as patron of the sick, of hospitals, nurses and nurs- ing associations. (Ms. Manternach is the author of catechettcal works, Scripture stories and original stories for children.) Hidden Words Rnd the woMs hid- den  the puzzle. They may be vet. tlcol, hodzontal or dlogonol. All the words ore found in this week's stoo/. R C P K S Y R T E N C B L U U I M G S N B M O I S E H C A E R U C B E T E R L B I U T U E L I I S N G N I V I C R A O M N E I T L M A L S A I P I C A M B L I N G What do you think? [] Make a poster showing an event from the life of St. Camlllus. For example, you might show him rowing out to a ship anchored in the Bay of Naples to help people suffering from the plague. At the bottom of your poster, tell in a few words what Carnillus Is doing. From the bookshelf In Moss Gown, byWllllam Hooks, one of three daughters loves her father for what he is, unlike her two sisters who love him for what they can get from him. But in a test given the daughters to find out if the!r love for him is true, the father misunderstands the younger daughter's words. She is tumed out of her home though she eventually will be reunited with her father. This story shows that acting with care and responsibility Isn't always rewarded as it migM be; but in the long run., it, can lead to great happiness. (Clarion Books,' Tioknor and Retds: A Houghton Mifflin Co., 52 Vanderbilt Ave. New York, N.Y. 10017. 1987. Hardback, $13.95.)