Brief History of the Camillians in the Philippines
The coming of the Camillians to the Philippines is a prayer answered. In the 1960s, Fr. Hernando Maceda, SJ, completed his studies in Rome and was preparing to return to the Philippines. His friend, Fr. Mario Vanti, OSC, gave him a farewell gift – a piece of St. Camillus’ heart. A request accompanied the gift: “Pray that one day the Order of St. Camillus will be established in your country.”
In 1974 two Italian Camillian scholastics, Ivo Z. Anselmi and Pietro Ferri, enrolled at the Loyola School of Theology. Fr. Hernando Maceda, SJ, sought them out and bequeathed to them the relic of St. Camillus. Soon after the prayer of Fr. Mario Vanti, OSC, began to take flesh. The presence of three Camillians (Fr. Ernesto Nidini enrolled at La Salle University for MA in Psychology) studying in Manila fostered the idea of a Camillian Foundation in the country. On March 8, 1975, the first Camillian Community in the Philippines was established in Quezon City under the Lombardo-Venetian Province. On March 25, 1976, this community became part of the Vice-Province of Taiwan.
A milestone was reached in 1997 with the establishment of the Far East Province, comprising the Philippines and Taiwan.
The canonical visit of the Superior General, Fr. Frank Monks, and his Vicar, Fr. Renato Salvatore in 2003 led to the establishment of the Philippine Province, with Taiwan as her Delegation attached to the Philippine Province. This new juridical structure took effect on July 1, 2003.
Today the spirit of St. Camillus inspires the Camillians to minister to the physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of the sick in 28 countries around the world. Presently the members of the Order, 1080 religious, priests and brothers, are involved in a variety of ministries.
In this last century the Order has established some health care institutions for special categories of sick people: the elderly, those afflicted by tuberculosis and leprosy, the drug addicts and the AIDS-infected.
Their mission, in our present time, is to instill a Christian spirit into hospitals and health care workers, and creating a new Gospel-based health care culture in the world of today.