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Rome: Church of Saint Mary Magdalene (Santa Maria Maddalena)

About the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Rome:

This is one of Rome’s less visited churches…perhaps because so many visit the Pantheon nearby; however, the church is beautiful inside (yes Rome is a city of beautiful churches) and contains the tomb of Saint Camillus de Lellis (located in the third chapel on the right side of the nave)..

Tomb of Saint Camellius in the church of Saint Mary Magdeline in Rome
Fraychero, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Born around 1550, Saint Camillus de Lellis had a sad background:   his mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and, on top of that, he developed an obsessive love for gambling. At 17, he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years.

Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, Camillus gambled away everything he had—savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his life. He entered the Capuchin novitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.  He found employment at the Hospital for Incurables in Rome…. in hopes of obtaining hospital care for himself. Later he was employed by Capuchins at Manfredonia on a hospital they were building. Later he became nurse in a hospital in Rome. St. Philip Neri was his spiritual director. Camillus went on to became a priest and founded an order: Fathers of a Good Death (the Camillians) a religious order dedicated to the care of the sick.

Saint Camillus lived in the adjacent monastery and died here in 1614.


We celebrate the Feast of Saint Camillus de Lellis on July 18.

Finding the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Rome:

Address:  Piazza della Maddalena, 53, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Click here for the official website of Santa Maria Maddalena

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