Why ask Saint Camilla Battista of Varano for help in time of pandemic?

03 April 2020
From a conversation with Mother Chiara Laura Serboli and the other Poor Clares of Camerino on the story of Saint Camilla Battista da Varano, martyr of the plague epidemic of the sixteenth century, published in L’Osservatore Romano of 2 April 2020:
Historically during epidemics, various “special” saints were invoked: St Rita, St Roch, St Anthony the Abbot, St Christopher and St Sebastian, whose stories are somehow linked to illness or miraculous healings. These invocations underline a universal fact, that goes beyond the saint to whom they are addressed: trust in the power of prayer and the awareness that the saints are our friends. In our prayer of intercession, we have turned to Saint Camilla Battista Varano, whose body is kept in our monastery, because we feel she is our “special” friend and it is normal that in times of need we ask our friends for help. We do this also because St Camilla Baptist not only experienced something similar to what we are now going through, but she was also a victim of it, dying of the plague on 31 May 1524. She died “alone on the bed of the cross”, infected by the disease, and was buried in quicklime to avoid further contagion. Her farewell took place in the open because of the ban on gatherings. She certainly knows what those who have contracted the virus are going through, facing it in the solitude of a hospital. She knows the pain of family members and of each of us. That is why we are certain that she intercedes for peace and health for everyone. She promised, “From Heaven, I will never forget you”. When the city walls of Camerino were renovated at the end of the fourteenth century, Duke Giovanni Spaccaferro wanted a religious community to be placed at each entrance gate. As well as an armed garrison to protect against physical enemies, he also wanted a religious community to guard against spiritual or invisible enemies, like the plague, creating a sort of spiritual enclosure. Taking up this tradition, relying on the intercession of Camilla Battista, our prayer today rises with confidence and perseverance from the city of Camerino, for the protection of the people of our time. Our city, in addition to still recovering from the earthquake emergency, is also on the front line of the covid-19 crisis, as a hospital reception point for all those infected in our territory.

Silvia Guidi

Full text (in Italian): Visit the website of the Poor Sisters of S. Chiara di Camerino    
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