Who We Are
Foundress of Daughters of St. Camillus (1859 - 1911)
Josephine Vannini who hailed from Rome is the first woman saint in the healthcare ministry. It is from here that even today her daughters set out to various health care activities with flourishing missions in 22 countries of the world. Judith was born in Rome, on 7thJuly 1859 to Angelo Vannini and Annunziata Papi and was baptized as Judith Adelaide Agatha on the following day. Young Judith, orphaned by both parents at the age of seven was given shelter in the Conservatorio Torlonia, run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent at Siena. She abandoned herself completely to God and sought her way of life in prayer, meditation and spiritual direction under the guidance of Fr. Angelo Mondini of the Congregation for Missions. Meanwhile, Judith obtained a diploma to teach in the nursery school and engaged herself in instructing the little ones. As Judith was inspired to a virtuous life by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent, the charity of Christ soon impelled her to offer herself entirely to God. Judith had tried twice to enter the same institute but for reasons of health she was refused admittance. She felt lost, while all her hopes seem dashed until God extended his merciful hand to help this faithful soul, who had never ceased to place her trust in him.
In December 1891, Judith met Fr. Louis Tezza of the Ministers of the sick at a spiritual retreat where she sought his advice in a confessional to discern the will of God for her. Fr. Tezza, who had a long cherished dream to establish a female religious congregation who would dedicate themselves to the care of the sick felt at that moment a light from high and an inner voice which said to him 'could not this young woman be the soul chosen by God to give life to the work which He had entrusted to him?' Fr. Tezza then shared with young Vannini of his plan and asked her if she felt disposed to collaborate with him. After several weeks of discernment Judith accepted Fr. Tezza's request and in March 1892, she and two companions received the Scapular and Religious habit of the Camillian Tertiaries. She took the name Josephine and was made the Superior general of the Daughters of St. Camillus on 8th December 1895.
The Spirit Of Mother Vannini
Mother Vannini was gentle, light hearted caring and firm. She was herself an example of fortitude, brimming over with energy and always full of optimism. She often said…… "What greater Holiness can there be than to fulfill God's Holy will cheerfully and in complete submission?" In moments of difficulties she would instruct her sisters to repeat the ejaculation…. 'In Te Domine Speravi, (In You I trust, O Lord). Everything hinged upon her constant harping with the sisters and the sick alike on the need for doing everything for the love of God. The Love of Jesus and the giving of self are the means for a Daughter of St. Camillus to attain perfection, dedicated as she is to the salvation of souls. Such a message was both the beginning and the end of Mother Vannini's ascetics through which she still lives among us today.
Birth In Heaven
During these years, Mother Vannini suffered a severe heart disease, but she neither avoided hardships nor neglected her responsibilities, but committed herself totally to the spread of the institute and the spiritual formation of the sisters. Fatigue had sapped her strength and the illness caused her to stop all the good works she had in mind. It was on the morning of 23 February 1911 that her blessed soul took flight to her eternal abode. She was beatified on 16th October 1994 by Pope St. John Paul II. From being a “Daughter of Charity”, she was destined to become the “Mother of Charity”, in the words used in the decree of opening of the apostolic process on her life of Heroic virtue.
Pope Francis formally announced in the ordinary public consistory of cardinals on the causes of canonization – a new star would be added to the firmament of the saints on 13th October 2019. In fact, Bl. Josephine Vannini (1859 - 1911), the foundress of the congregation of the Daughters of St. Camillus was canonized on that day along with four other Blesseds at St. Peter’s Square, Rome.
Charism of the Daughters of St. Camillus
he charism of the congregation is a specific one supported by the fourth vow to serve the sick even at the risk of one’s own life according to the Spirit of St. Camillus. God caused this tender young plant to thrive and blessed it in its pursuit of good works, but not without subjecting it to many trials, which even threatened to rend it apart. Today the sisters are engaged in various fields of health care apostolate, such as: Hospitals, Dispensaries, School & College of Nursing, Homes for the aged, Institutions for Mentally and physically challenged children, Leprosy colonies, and Homes for people affected with HIV/AIDS. Today the mighty work of God and the sacrificial life of our sisters have made it possible to expand the special charism and spirituality of St. Camillus in four continents, six provinces and three delegations. This co-operation and help among the members of the Institute, create unity, better understanding, more knowledge and an occasion to transmit the real spirit and visions of our Founders in the various field of actions the Congregation has undertaken at this present time.We pray that St. Josephine Vannini may obtain graces and blessings of God in abundance on all the sick and the suffering and also on those who care for the Sick in Hospitals and other places.