It was at San Giovanni Rotondo in the Valle dell'Inferno (Manfredonia), while Camillus was preparing to transport material provisions to the Capuchin convent in Manfredonia, Father Angelo accosted him with paternal and admonishing words that touched and made him reflect all night long. The next day (February 2, 1575), the feast of the Presentation of our Lord, as he descended towards Manfredonia along the valley of hell, his conscience was deeply troubled as if he was struck by lightning which threw him to the ground from his donkey. He beats his chest with a stone, asking God's forgiveness for his past life and resolving to do true penance.
Until that moment, he had let himself be guided by the impulses of his character and had always decided with his instinct and wants; the thought began to dawn on him that he needed God to make constructive decisions. Then, he exclaimed, "no more of the world, no more of the world," which means I don't want anymore to be guided by my instinct in search of true happiness. From now on, I will let the Holy Spirit completely inspires and reorients my life to its true purpose, its original design. It was a moment of recovery of the values which he had never nurtured and lived before.
As we joyously celebrate the feast of the conversion of our beloved spiritual father, St. Camillus de Lellis, we are reminded of the transformative power of a change of heart and the profound impact it can have on our lives and the world around us.
St. Camillus' conversion from a life of tumult to one of compassion and selfless service serves as an inspiring example for all of us in the Camillian family. This year, let us delve deeper into the significance of his conversion and draw parallels to the urgent need for ecological conversion in our contemporary world.
In the spirit of St. Camillus, who turned away from his former way of life to embrace a life of love and care for those in need and suffering because of conscious denial to the truth of interconnectedness of creation, let us consider how we too can turn away from practices that harm our environment and embrace a more sustainable and ecologically responsible way of living.
Ecological conversion calls us to recognize the interconnectedness of all creation and to adopt lifestyles that promote environmental stewardship and justice. St. Camillus, through his commitment to the sick and suffering, exemplifies the essence of caring for not just individuals but for the well-being of the entire community and the world.
As we celebrate St. Camillus' conversion, let us reflect on ways we can contribute to the healing of our wounded planet. Whether through eco-resilience community building projects, sustainable practices in our healthcare missions, responsible use of resources, or advocacy for environmental justice, each one of us has a role to play in fostering integral health and planetary well-being.
May this celebration be a catalyst for our personal and collective ecological and integral health conversion, inspiring us to live in harmony with creation and work towards a more sustainable, compassionate, and healthy world.
Wishing you all a blessed feast of the conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis.
Fr. Aris Miranda, MI
CADIS Executive Director