I am delighted to have the duty to present this Statute to the lay Camillian family scattered throughout the world. It affords me the welcome opportunity of acknowledging the very important work being carried out under the Camillian banner by so many very committed lay people. Through your work for the sick and suffering you are helping bring to fruition the dream of St. Camillus who foresaw that his little shrub would spread throughout the world, and his prayer that he might have a hundred hands so as to care for still more suffering members of our society. Your ever growing and constantly developing presence is one of the most encouraging signs of the times for the religious of the Order of St. Camillus, and I joyfully acknowledge and welcome your presence as part of the Order.
On the recommendation of the Camillian laity the General Chapter held in Bucchianico in 1995 requested that the Lay Camillian Family be presented with a statute which would unite the various groups around the world. It was hoped that the Statute would define and clarify the role of the family. The expressed desire of the laity at the time was that the clarification of their identity would respect their autonomy and right to run their own affairs while at the same time enshrining their desire to be closely bonded with the male branch of the Camillian Order. I believe the document I have the pleasure of presenting honours these aspirations as it clarifies and defines the objectives, spirituality and organisation of the Camillian Family, and clearly distinguishes between independence and autonomy.
In response to the request of the General Chapter a commission was put in place by the Consulta General in 1995 resulting in a Statute being presented to the Camillian Family in 1998 for a three year ad experimentum period. In the light of the lived experience the family members submitted their recommendations and comments on this document and these were amalgamated into the text presented by the general Consulta to the General Chapter in Mottinello in 2001 for approval.
With a few minor changes the Statutes was unanimously approved by the 55th General Chapter in May of last year. The text was then presented to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Their decree of approval is reproduced on the preceding page.
I pray that this Statute may serve as a structure for assuring the continuity of the great spirit which animates the Camillian Family, and that the merciful love of Christ for the sick may continue to be expressed with great creativity by all who seek to live by the spirit of this document.
Fr Frank Monks, MI.