Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From Italian Homeboy - with - a - Badditude to ... ??!!

Canonized Saint!!

How Camillus of Lellis Became an Ambassador of Mercy

Adapted from this source: Ms. Louise Perrotta's rock'em take on what she calls The Saint of the First Red Cross, in "The Word Among Us," magazine, May 2008.

"The story of Camillus begins auspiciously enough.

"His devout mother, Camilla, was childless and nearly sixty when he was born, on May 25, 1550.

"Wondering neighbors in her small Italian town called her St. Elizabeth, after John the Baptist's mother, and saw the pregnancy as a miraculous answer to her prayers.
"And like other expectant mothers of saints, Camilla had a prophetic dream: She saw her son wearing a big red cross on his chest, leading others who were dressed the same way.

"Because prisoners of the day wore a cross as they were led to execution, Camilla mis - interpreted her dream to mean that Camillus was likely to meet a bad end as a criminal gang leader.

"She fretted as he grew into a wild and moody boy who was easily influenced by the wrong crowd.

"Often before her death, when Camillus was thirteen, she would tell him her dream in order to warn him away from the fate she foresaw.

"At nineteen, Camillus joined his father, a professional soldier who had been fighting for various armies in their incessant regional wars.

"Before Camillus saw action, however, both fell sick, and his father died.

"Camillus decided to pursue a better life.

"He even vowed to become a Franciscan.

"But his resolve was sort - lived, and he came away from his brief military experience with two more liabilities: an addiction to gambling and a festering leg sore that refused to heal.

"If you were poor [and wretchedly sick] in Renaissance Italy, like Camillus, you traveled to one of the urban charity hospitals founded by pious benefactors and overseen by religious groups.

"Many of these hospitals were grand buildings with large, high - ceilinged wards dominated by beautiful altars where the sick could easily attend Mass.

"[T]hey were also noisy, smelly, unhygienic places where patients sometimes slept two to a bed.

"Many of the hospital attendants were unfeeling and incompetent, ignoring patients' basic needs."

Anyone who applied was generally hired on the spot

"Some [poor patients] they hauled away for burial without checking to make sure they were really dead!

'"Because the work was messy, risky and poorly paid, these aides had a high turnover rate.

"Anyone who applied was generally hired on the spot, no background check, no questions asked.

"This was especially true at the "hospitals for the incurables," which treated patients so ravaged by disease -- most especially, syphilis -- that no one else wanted them.

"Camillus made his health care d├ębut as an aide at one of these hospitals, Rome's St. James the Incurables, in exchange for treatment of his leg injury.

"He was soon fired for picking fights and slipping away to play cards cards whenever his supervisors turned their backs.

"As he regretfully told a friend much later, he lived for gambling then and cared nothing for the sufferings of the sick.

"A soldier of fortune once again, Camillus fought and gambled throughout Italy for the next four years..."

Man! Don't we know this homeboy was one, slow, slow, learner?

You bet!



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