By Vatican News
Saint Camillus de Lellis founded the Order of Camillians, or Ministers to the Sick, over 400 years ago. Its identity has remained the same for over four centuries and finds its expression in the charism of mercy towards the sick.
Pope Francis referred to this charism when he met with members of the Order in the Vatican on Monday. When sickness comes and upsets our lives, he said, “we need a brother or sister beside us”, someone who is “compassionate and competent, and who consoles and supports us”.
Sharing the charism
The Pope praised the Members of the Camillian Charismatic Family for living their mission “in an exemplary way” by “assisting the sick, especially the poorest, in their bodily and spiritual needs, and teaching others the best way to serve them, for the benefit of the Church and of humanity”.
All charisms, continued Pope Francis, are gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are meant to be shared with others. “Over the years, you have endeavored to incarnate your charism faithfully”, he continued, “translating it into a multiplicity of apostolic works and pastoral service for the benefit of suffering humanity throughout the world”.
The original charism
The original mission and charism of Saint Camillus, said Pope Francis, is today reflected in a "charismatic family”, composed of religious, secular consecrated persons and laity. “At the center remains the original charism, as a perennial source of light and inspiration, which is understood and embodied dynamically in different forms”.
The Pope reminded his listeners how Saint Camillus de Lellis asked his first religious communities to serve the sick "with the affection that a loving mother usually has for her only sick child”. The two women's congregations that arose in the 19th century and the secular institutes founded in the last century, the Pope continued, “have given completeness to the expression of the charism of mercy towards the sick, enriching it with the markedly feminine qualities of love and care”.
The importance of listening
Pope Francis concluded by inviting the Camillian Charismatic Family to listen to one another, to the Holy Spirit, and “to the many forms of suffering and poverty of humanity today”. In this way, he said, you will shine with ever-new light, “and many young people from all over the world will feel drawn to it, and join you in continuing to bear witness to the tenderness of God”.