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The Catholic Forum lists 8 Saints as patrons of nursing, some factual some apocryphal. Alexius, Camillus of Lellis and St John of God were men who dedicated their lives to the service of the sick and poor and inspired, or founded male religious communities of nurses. Alexius the son of a wealthy Roman senator, considered to be the ‘Holy Man of God’ was to be married but his fiancee let him pursue his vocation. He lived a life of prayer and teaching the cathechism in the guise of a beggar in the home of his parents. He is the patron St of the Alexian Brothers. Camillus de Lellis  was the son of a military officer. A ‘wayward’ youth, he later joined the Capuchin order, however illness prevented him from taking his vows. He later became administrator of the San Giacomo hospital in Rome and eventually became a priest. He dedicated his life to the service of the sick and poor as a penance his is misspent youth. He founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick (the Camellians) who care for the sick in home and hospital. John of God, another wayward youth left the military to purse a vocation of caring for the sick, poor and homeless; giving what he had, begged for those who couldn’t, carried those who would not walk on their own. John founded the Order of Charity and the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of God. Is there a theme running here? Does God call all those wayward youths with misspent childhoods to care for the sick?

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