Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Soldier Saint

The work of Lampstand requires a martial stance and that stance is heartily exemplified by the soldier saints of the Church, such as St. Ignatius Loyola, clearly the most well known.

St. Camillus de Lellis is another, less well known, but as the founder of the famous order, the Hospitallers, his life is a remarkable story, captured in this book from Ignatius Press and reviewed at Ignatius Insight.

An excerpt.

“The novel, A Soldier Surrenders, is the story of the dramatic conversion and inspiring goodness of the soldier Camillus de Lellis who lived in the late 1500's, and became the founder of the religious order known then as "Ministers of the Sick", and today now called the "Hospitallers". “The story of St. Camillus is one that is filled with an intriguing combination of drama, military battles, sickness and disease, conversion to God, and great charity for countless suffering people, be they dying soldiers, prisoners or patients in the hospitals that he founded.

“Camillus is a saint that anyone can identitfy with since he was a very worldly man, a huge man at 6 foot 6 inches height, a soldier who fought against the Turks, and one who had a terrible addiction to gambling that continually reduced him to poverty and shame. He also suffered tremendously throughout his life from various ongoing ailments including a crippling leg disease for 46 years, a rupture for 38 years, chronically painful feet problems, and a distaste for food that caused him an inability to retain it. None of his own great sufferings kept him from always thinking of others first, and striving to serve the many sick and dying people under his care.

“He eventually conquered his personal weaknesses like gambling, but not without a long and constant struggle, an example of perseverance that will inspire anyone with their own personal moral, spiritual or physical struggles. God rewarded him with many followers who joined his order to serve the sick and dying, as well as great spiritual gifts including prophecy and miracles. St. Camillus was a forerunner of the work of the International Red Cross, and he used that same symbol for his own religious order. Camillus was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746, and was proclaimed patron of the sick and of hospitals in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.”