Message for the day of the camillian religious martyrs of charity
25 May 2020
While we wish St. Camillus for his 470th birthday, we celebrate also the the 26th year of the feast of the ” Camillian Religious Martyrs of Charity”.
Saint Camillus de Lellis, born on May 25, 1550 in Bucchianico (CH and after his conversion on February 2, 1575, dedicated himself body and soul to the service of the sick with a heart of a mother. He also instituted “a company of pious good men who, not for profit (personal interests), but voluntarily and for the love of God, would serve Him with the charity and loving kindness of a mother towards her own sick child.” Supported by the grace of God, the Crucified One and the Mother of God, Camillus, together with his companions gave such a high example of heroic dedication to the sick that their way of serving the sick has been called “a new school of charity” by Pope Benedict XIV. They were moved by the spirit of their fourth vow that wants them to serve the sick, even the afflicted, at the cost of exposing themselves to the danger of life.
From the time of Saint Camillus until today, along the four centuries of history, there have been men and women who have generously dedicated themselves to the service of the sick with great heroism, and who can be counted among the martyrs with the title of “Martyrs of Charity”..
Father Giuseppe Cinà notes that, “the attribution of martyrs of charity to our religious in its broad sense is therefore to be understood first of all in the fact that it is the Spirit who has made them capable of ‘giving living witness to their faith’ which they have expressed through merciful charity towards the sick. But it is also important to underline that in them is expressed the will to ‘lose life’ for the suffering neighbour”.
It was brilliant to make this feast of the “Camillian Religious Martyrs of Charity” coincide with the anniversary of the birth of the giant of Charity as the Consulta of that time affirmed in its message on the occasion of the first celebration of the Camillian Religious Martyrs of Charity. “The example of St. Camillus was decisive in determining this momentum of heroic charity. Although he did not die in the exercise of his ministry to the sick suffering from serious infections, he revealed a heart of martyrdom, imitating the Christ who loved us and gave his life for us (cf. Ga 2:20)”.
We, members of the Camillian Charismatic Family, men and women religious and lay people, heirs of such a precious gift, are called to relive this witness of God’s maternal love in us with creativity so as to become credible, and to be prophets to our own time; a witness capable of “awakening the world” and attracting new people who want to join us to continue to say that God is merciful Love.
The Covid 19 pandemic in which we are experiencing all over the world creating various problems is a particular provocation to the Camillian Charismatic Family. People who have lost their lives serving or curing Covid patients are calling us. Are we all provoked and questioned by this Covid 19 and the dramatic situations of our brothers and sisters who are experiencing this situation?
I wish each one of you with the words of the Holy Father Pope Francis: “May the memory of those brothers ‘Martyrs of Charity’ ensure that in fidelity to the initial inspiration of the Founders and Foundresses, and in listening to the many forms of suffering and poverty of humanity today, we know how to make the gift received shine ever new light; and many and many young people throughout the world will feel drawn to join us to continue to bear witness to God’s tenderness.”
My best wishes to all of you!
Fr. Laurent Zoungrana, MI
 . Giuseppe Cinà, M.I., I Camilliani “martiri della carità” 25 maggio 2018. p.3