Camillian Delegation of the United States of America – A 100-year history

In 2021 the Camillian Order will observe the centennial of its arrival in the United States. Fr. Michael Mueller arrived from Germany in September of that year. He came to Wisconsin initially to look at land that had been offered to the community. As it turned out the land was not a suitable place to build a hospital, but Milwaukee was fertile ground for the community to put down roots. This was confirmed when the community opened St. Camillus Hospital in Wauwatosa in 1932.

Mueller and his fellow Germans maintained a strong presence in the Camillians well into the 1960s, but American men would need to join if the community was going to prosper. A novitiate was built in 1935 and a House of Studies in 1942 in order to encourage Americans to join. That effort largely succeeded until the 1980s when many religious communities found it difficult to attract vocations. Still the order had sufficient numbers to see multiple expansions of their facility in Wauwatosa and, with the addition of some Italian priests, the opening of St. Camillus Hospital in Whitinsville, Massachusetts in 1964.

As time passed the community became a healthy mix of men from around the world. Today the USA Camillians include members from: Brazil, Italy, Nigeria, India, Viet Nam, Philippines and the United States. While the nationalities of the Camillians have changed over the years, but the commitment of all of these men has remained the same. That is, to provide compassionate and loving care to all people. Throughout this centennial year monthly columns will be published that look at the Camillians and their impact on the areas they have served.