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From where does the name Camillus House come?


Brother Mathias Barrett, founder of Camillus House, decided to name the organization after Saint Camillus de Lellis (Patron Saint of Nursing), who devoted his life to the care of the poor and the sick.

Saint Camillus de Lellis was born in 1550 at Bocchiavico, Abruzzi, Kingdom of Naples, Italy. In 1570 he began a life of penance and became a nurse at the hospital of St. Giacomo (Rome) and was ordained a priest in 1584.

Saint Camillus founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick and Poor (the Camellians), whose members took the vow to: Devote themselves to material and spiritual care of the sick and needy. The congregation expanded to several countries within a few years and by the time he retired from the generalship of his order in 1607, in order to have more leisure for the poor and sick, there were 300 members, 15 houses and eight hospitals.

Saint Camillus honored the poor and sick as living images of Christ. His reverence in their presence was as great as if he were really and truly in the presence of his Lord. His devotion and compassion was so great that when he was taking care of people, he seemed to spend and exhaust himself completely.


Saint Camillus’ charity was great and all embracing, not only he helped the sick and dying, but every other needy or suffering human being. His charity was not confined to those who came to him; he also went out from city to city looking for people to help. When his disciples suggested that it was enough to help those who came to them, he said:

“If no poor could be found in the world, men ought to go in search of them, and dig them up from underground to do them good, and to be merciful to them.”


Saint Camillus died on July 14, 1614 at Genoa, Italy. He was beatified on April 7, 1742 by Pope Benedict XIV and canonized in 1746 by Benedict XIV.

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Serving the South Florida community since 1960, Camillus House is a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian services to men, women and children who are poor and homeless.