Feast of Saint Camillus de Lellis, Confessor and Religious Founder; commemoration of St Symphorosa & her Seven Sons, Martyrs: Missa “Majórem hæc dilectiónem”
He was the son of an officer who had served both in the Neapolitan and French armies. His mother died when he was a child, and he grew up absolutely neglected. When still a youth he became a soldier in the service of Venice and afterwards of Naples, until 1574, when his regiment was disbanded. While in the service he became a confirmed gambler, and in consequence of his losses at play was at times reduced to a condition of destitution.
The kindness of a Franciscan friar induced him to apply for admission to that order, but he was refused. He then betook himself to Rome, where he obtained employment in the Hospital for Incurables. He was prompted to go there chiefly by the hope of a cure of abscesses in both his feet from which he had been long suffering. He was dismissed from the hospital on account of his quarrelsome disposition and his passion for gambling. He again became a Venetian soldier, and took part in the campaign against the Turks in 1569.
After the war he was employed by the Capuchins at Manfredonia on a new building which they were erecting. His old gambling habit still pursued him, until a discourse of the guardian of the convent so startled him that he determined to reform. He was admitted to the order as a lay brother, but was soon dismissed on account of his infirmity. He betook himself again to Rome, where he entered the hospital in which he had previously been, and after a temporary cure of his ailment became a nurse, and winning the admiration of the institution by his piety and prudence, he was appointed director of the hospital.
While in this office, he attempted to found an order of lay infirmarians, but the scheme was opposed, and on the advice of his friends, among whom was his spiritual guide, St. Philip Neri, he determined to become a priest. He was then thirty-two years of age and began the study of Latin at the Jesuit College in Rome. He afterwards established his order, the Fathers of a Good Death (1584), and bound the members by vow to devote themselves to the plague-stricken; their work was not restricted to the hospitals, but included the care of the sick in their homes.
Pope Sixtus V confirmed the congregation in 1586, and ordained that there should be an election of a general superior every three years. Camillus was naturally the first, and was succeeded by an Englishman, named Roger. Two years afterwards a house was established in Naples, and there two of the community won the glory of being the first martyrs of charity of the congregation, by dying in the fleet which had been quarantined off the harbor, and which they had visited to nurse the sick.
In 1591 Pope Gregory XIV erected the congregation into a religious order, with all the privileges of the mendicants. It was again confirmed as such by his successor Pope Clement VIII a year later in 1592. The infirmity which had prevented his entrance among the Capuchins continued to afflict Camillus for forty-six years, and his other ailments contributed to make his life one of uninterrupted suffering, but he would permit no one to wait on him, and when scarcely able to stand would crawl out of his bed to visit the sick.
He resigned the generalship of the order in 1607, in order to have more leisure for the sick and poor. Meantime he had established many houses in various cities of Italy. He is said to have had the gift of miracles and prophecy. He died at the age of sixty-four on July 14, 1614 while pronouncing a moving appeal to his religious brethren.
He was buried near the high altar of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, at Rome, and, when the miracles which were attributed to him were officially approved, his body was placed under the altar itself. He was beatified in 1742, and in 1746 was canonized by Benedict XIV. Pope Leo XIII appointed him the celestial patron of those who are at the point of death and his name is in the Litany of the Dying. In 1930 Pope Pius XI named St. Camillus, together with St. John of God, as principal co-patron saints of nurses and of nurses’ associations.
There is a commemoration today of Saint Symphorosa and her sons who were martyred under Hadrian in the year 120. The mother was drowned on this day in the River Anio, whilst her sons had already won the crown of martyrdom on June 27; Crescens had been stabbed in the throat, Julian in the breast, Nemesius in the heart, Primitivus in the stomach; Justin had received his death-wound in the back, Stacteus in the side, and Eugenius had been actually cleft in two.
The bodies of the Tiburtine martyrs were brought to Rome by Pope Stephen III and placed in the deaconry church of St. Michael.
INTROIT Psalm 91: 13, 14
Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.(Ps. 40: 2) Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and poor: the Lord will deliver him in the evil day. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Greater love than this no man hath…etc
O God, Who didst adorn blessed Camillus with a special gift of charity for the help of souls struggling in their last agony, pour upon us, we beseech Thee, by his merits, the spirit of Thy love, that in the hour of our death we may be worthy to overcome the enemy and attain unto the heavenly crown. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Commemoration of St. Symphorosa & her Seven Sons
Let us pray. God, Who dost permit us to celebrate the birthday of Thy holy martyrs, Symphorosa and her sons, grant us to enjoy their companionship in everlasting beatitude. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
EPISTLE I John 3: 13-18
Holy Mass is the continual manifestation of the love of God for us, since it reminds us that Jesus gave His life to save us. The epistle reinforces that whomever hateth his brother is a murderer.
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed John the Apostle. Dearly beloved, Wonder not if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death. Whomever hateth his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself. In this we have known the charity of God, because He hath laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shut up his bowel from him, how doth the charity of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 36: 30, 31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment. V. The law of his God is in his heart; and his steps shall not be supplanted. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 111: 1) Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, he delights exceedingly in His commandments. Alleluia
GOSPEL John 15: 12-16
A continuation of Christ’s discourse to His Apostles: “Love your neighbor as I have loved you”.
At that time, Jesus said His to His disciples: “This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do the things that I command you. I will not now call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends; because all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you. You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you; and have appointed you that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 20: 23
In thy strength, O Lord, the just shall exult and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.
May this unspotted victim, with which we renew the great work of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s infinite charity, be, through the intercession of blessed Camillus, our saving remedy against all infirmities of body and soul, and, in the last agony, our solace and protection. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
Commemoration of St. Symphorosa & her Seven Sons
We offer Thee, O Lord, the gifts of our devotion; may they be rendered both pleasing unto Thee, for the honor of Thy just ones, and to us, through Thy mercy, helpful to salvation. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 25: 36, 40
I was sick and you visited Me: Amen, amen I say to You, as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me.
Through this heavenly nourishment which we have received with pious devotion, in celebrating the solemnity of blessed Camillus, Thy confessor, grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that in the hour of our death, refreshed by Thy sacraments, and all our sins forgiven, we may deserve to be taken up, rejoicing, into the bosom of Thy mercy. Who with Thee livest and reignest, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, For ever and ever.
Commemoration of St. Symphorosa & her Seven Sons
Let us pray. Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Thy holy martyrs, Symphorosa and her sons, that what we touch with our lips we may receive with a pure heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.