Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ontario CWL Convention, Cornwall - St Camillus de Lellis

The Alexandria-Cornwall host delegation of the CWL Provincial Convention

Yesterday, after a meeting with the Episcopal Council to review the past pastoral year and prepare for the new pastoral year beginning in September, I drove to Cornwall to assist at the Ontario Provincial Convention of the Catholic Women's League of Canada.

Hamilton Bishop Anthony Tonnos, the provincial spiritual moderator was joined by host Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher and a number of diocesan and parish spiritual moderators for the closing banquet.

Here are some photos of these radiant dynamos of our Catholic Church:

Some of the Ottawa delegation

Bishop Durocher invited me to stay over at his residence, which enabled us to get caught up on recent news.

I admired an icon that was "written" for his episcopal ordination, and which is in his chapel, featuring his patrons Sts. Paul and Andrew.

* * * * * *

Today's Optional Memorial is of St. Camillus de Lellis, who was born in Bacchianico, Italy in 1550 and died in Rome, Italy in 1614.

His mother died while he was still a child and his father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies, leaving him neglected. While still a youth, he became a soldier in the service of Venice and later of Naples, remaining there until 1574.

While Camillus referred to himself as a great sinner, his only vice seemed to be gambling. He gambled away everything he had and to atone for actions, he went to work as a laborer on the new Capuchin buildings in Manfredonia. Here, after a moving exhortation from the Friar, he completed his conversion and begged God for mercy, at the age of twenty-five.

Camillus entered the Capuchin novitiate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, each time forced him to give it up. He went to Rome for medical treatment where Saint Philip Neri became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator.

He decided to become a priest at the encouragement of St. Philip Neri, and was ordained at the age of 34. He established his Order, the Fathers of a Good Death, for the care of the sick.

Camillus chose a red cross as the distinguishing badge for the members of his Order to wear upon their black cassocks, and he taught his volunteers that the hospital was a house of God, a garden where the voices of the sick were music from heaven. Once when he was discouraged, he heard the consoling words from the crucifix, “This is my work, not yours”.

Camillus was a strong and powerful man, about 6'6" tall, but suffered throughout his life from abscesses on his feet. In spite of this infirmity, he was active in organizing his Order.

After leading the movement throughout Italy, Camillus died on July 14, 1614. In 1742, Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed Camillus de Lellis blessed; in 1746 he canonized him, calling him the “Founder of a new school of charity”.

O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Camillus with a singular grace of charity towards the sick, pour out upon us, by his merits, a spirit of love for you, so that, serving you in our neighbour, at the hour of our death we may pass safely over to you. Through our Lord....

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