The Servants would be summoned to hospitals, and to prisons and private houses, to tend to the needs of the sick and dying.
In 1586, Pope Sixtus V approved Camillus' group, and in 1591 Pope Gregory XIV confirmed the Servants of the Sick- with the name changed to the 'Order of the Ministers of the Infirm'- as a religious order. Members of the order wear a red cross on their black cassocks and capes, which Camillus reportedly said was to "frighten the devil."
In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, members of the order take a vow of unfailing service to the sick, even at risk to their own lives. The order, today made up of priests and brothers, is often known simply as the "Camillans."
Two congregations of the Camillans for women were created in the 19th century, and secular institutes were established in the 20th century.
Camillus himself was totally devoted to the poor and sick, and though he himself was very ill, he would spend time with the sick even while unable to walk, by crawling from bed to bed to see if the other patients needed help. Upon learning that he himself was incurably ill, Camillus responded: "I rejoice in what has been told me. We shall go into the house of the Lord."
Upon receiving the Eucharist one last time, he said: "O Lord, I confess that I am the most wretched of sinners, most undeserving of thy favor; but save me by thy infinite goodness. My hope is placed in thy divine mercy by thy precious blood."
Camillus died on July 14, 1614. Benedict XIV canonized him in 1746, and in 1886, Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of all hospitals and of the sick.
Pius XI later named him- along with Saint John of God- one of the two main co-patrons of nurses and nursing associations in 1930.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint, is celebrated on July 14 in the United States, thus St. Camillus' feast day is celebrated on July 18 in the US.
Pope Francis met with men and women religious from the Camillian Charismatic Family in March 2019. He praised those present for their work of "loving and generous donation to the sick, carrying out a precious mission, in the Church and in society, alongside the suffering."
Through fidelity to their founder, and by listening to and accompanying those experiencing poverty and suffering today, the pope said, the Camillians "will know how to make light shine, always new, on the gift received; and many young people the world over will be able to feel attracted by and to join with you, to continue to bear witness to God's tenderness."
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