St Camillus de Lellis was born at Bocchianico, Italy. His father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies[1] and was seldom home. De Lellis had his father’s temper.

At sixteen De Lellis joined his father in the Venetian army and fought in a war against the Turks. After a number of years of military service, his regiment was disbanded in 1575. He suffered a leg wound while fighting, one that was later declared incurable. He entered Rome’s San Giacomo Hospital for treatment, but was eventually turned out of the hospital because of his quarrelsome attitude. Having gambled away all his possessions, De Lellis took work as a laborer at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia. The guardian of the friary saw a better side to his nature, and continually tried to bring that out in him. Eventually the friar’s exhortations penetrated his heart and he had a religious conversion in 1575.

He became a Capuchin novice, but after his leg wound was declared incurable, he was denied admission to that Order. He devoted himself to caring for the sick, and became director of St Giacomo Hospital in Rome. He received permission from his confessor (St Philip Neri) to be ordained and decided, with two companions, to found his own congregation, the Ministers of the Sick (the Camellians), dedicated to the care of the sick.

Saint Camillus de Lellis is the Patron Saint of:

  • Hospitals
  • Nurses
  • Healthcare workers
  • Sick


This article incorporates text from Catholic Online website:

Picture 1: “St Camillus de Lellis by Pietro Pacilli 1753 CE at St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City” by mharrsch
Picture 2:

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