Ordinary Time: July 18th
Optional Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis (USA)
Old Calendar: St. Camillus of Lellis, confessor; St. Symphorosa and her Seven Sons, martyrs
St. Camillus, entirely without means of existence and from his early youth suffering from an incurable wound in his foot, experienced the horrors of the Roman hospitals in the sixteenth century in which the nursing and other staff were drawn from the dregs of the population. He effected a great change for the better, not content with making himself a slave of the sick and diseased he established for them a congregation of Clerks Regular pledged to this work, even when it involved those suffering from the plague, and whatever their state of life or disease.St. Camillus died in Rome on July 14, 1614. Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of hospitals and the sick and Pius XI declared him the protector of all nuns who care for the sick. His name has been inserted in the Litany for the dying. This is also his feast according to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.Today is the commemoration of St. Symphorosa and her seven Sons. St. Symphorosa was a Roman martyr of unknown date. Her tomb is on the Via Tiburtina, nine miles from Rome, together with that of seven other martyrs whom a late tradition depicts as her sons.
St. Camillus de Lellis
St. Camillus' mother was nearly sixty years old when he was born (1550). As a youth he gave himself to the sinful pleasures of this world. His conversion dates from the feast of the Purification, 1575. Two attempts to enter the Capuchin Order were frustrated by an incurable sore on his leg. In Rome St. Camillus was received in a hospital for incurables; before long he was put in charge because of his ability and zeal for virtue. He brought to the sick every imaginable kind of spiritual and bodily aid.
Often Portrayed As: Man with Guardian AngelThings to Do:
- "That we may conquer the enemy in the hour of our death and obtain the heavenly crown," should be our principal petition today. How familiar are you with the prayers for the dying as given in the liturgy? Do you possess a sick-call set, with a cross, candles, a white tablecloth, etc., in case the last sacraments must be administered? Are you aware that the Church has special prayers which should be said during the final moments before the soul's departure? Unfortunately these prayers are hardly ever explained by those having the care of souls. Express your desire now to responsible persons that you want a priest to assist you at the hour of death with the full liturgical ritual.
- Become acquainted, while you are still healthy, with the ritual for the sick and dying. Most people find it very consoling. A litany first invokes the various patrons of a happy death. Thereupon follows that final, stirring imperative: "Go forth from this world, O Christian soul, in the Name of God the Father almighty, who created you; in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered for you; in the Name of the Holy Ghost, who has been poured forth upon you. . . ." Another prayer, in litany form, reminds God of Old and New Testament saints whom He saved from danger and distress; for example, "Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant, as Thou didst deliver Susanna from an unjust condemnation." And after the sick person has breathed forth his soul, those about petition for a blessed journey home: "Come to his (her) aid, O saints of God; come forth to meet him (her), angels of the Lord, receiving his (her) soul, presenting it to the Most High." Familiarity with these texts will aid us in being interiorly prepared when our own last moment arrives.
St. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons
St. Symphorosa, the wife of the holy martyr Getulius, together with her seven sons. Under Emperor Hadrian she was repeatedly struck in the face; then she was suspended by her hair, and lastly, tied to a rock, was thrown into a river. Her sons were bound to a pillar and their members disjointed with windlasses; thereupon, in various ways, they suffered martyrdom" (about the year 138). (Martyrology). Their bodies were placed in the Church of St. Michael near the fish market in Rome.
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