The Word Among Us

January 2021 Issue

In Perpetual Service of the Sick

The Story of St. Camillus de Lellis, Patron Saint of Healthcare Workers

By: Anne E. Neuberger

In Perpetual Service of the Sick: The Story of St. Camillus de Lellis, Patron Saint of Healthcare Workers by Anne E. Neuberger

Legend has it that when Camilla Compelli de Laureto was pregnant with her last child in 1550, she had a dream about that child’s future. She saw her son as an adult, wearing an emblem of a cross on his chest, leading other men wearing the same cross. That dream troubled her greatly; it stayed with her, in fact, for the rest of her life. That’s because in sixteenth-century Italy, the only time someone wore a cross like that was when he or she was headed for the gallows to be hanged. Camilla’s dream did come true, but not in the way she thought it would.

A Teenage Bully. Camilla’s son, Camillus, grew to an astounding height for his era: by the time he was only sixteen, he stood six-and-a-half-feet...

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