In June 1614, a month before he left earthly life, Camillus wrote a letter in his own hand in which he recommended what was closest to his heart. He particularly recalls charity toward the sick, whom he managed to care for until the end of his days. This natural inclination of his is wonderfully depicted in the masterpiece of the French painter Pierre H Hubert Subleyras, who in 1746 painted “St. Camillus de Lellis saves the sick of the Hospital San Spirito during the Tiber flood of 1598.”

It is this image of St. Camillus de Lellis that is the beacon of CADIS International’s action.
St. Camillus’ arms encircled around the body of the sick person bringing him to safety are the arms of all the people who, today, respond to emergencies due to natural and non-natural disasters in the world. They are religious, lay people, volunteers, all driven by mercy and the spirit of charity toward the most vulnerable.

These are the hands reaching out to the victims of the flooding that struck the Assam state of India in June. The same hands that caress and give support to the Ukrainian refugees (women and children) in Poland or dirtied by the semi-arid soil in Wajir, Kenya, coping with the drought emergency that has persisted for too long. The hands of those who were there in Haiti during last year’s devastating earthquake or during the early emergencies in Bohol and Negros, Philippines, following Typhoon Odette, and those who provided medicine and assistance during the first devastating wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Camillian Disaster Service (CADIS) International Foundation has embraced the prophetic call to be Camillian religious in the new millennium, taking its choices and interventions to the international level. CADIS boldly pursues the global project of building a resilient community to support and accompany people who have been affected or exposed to natural or man-made disasters.

CADIS’ engagement in the humanitarian world began with a select group of Camillians and lay collaborators. At present, the seed that has been planted has grown into a tree whose branches are bearing fruit: a significant number of Camillians, lay people, priests and religious at the provincial or delegation level are being formed to organize CADIS activities in synergy with local and international partners engaged in humanitarian and development activities.

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