The Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) is inspired by the heroic commitment of the Camillians in witnessing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy during the massive plagues, epidemics and wars in Italy and Hungary - the so-called Festivals of Charity of the 16th-17th centuries. Hundreds of Camillians died while assisting the people in the plague-stricken areas. The Camillians vowed to serve the sick even in danger to their own lives and promote the new “School of Charity” (caring for the sick like a mother caring for her only child both corporally and spiritually) which St. Camillus founded. The corporal and the spiritual works of mercy stand as the primary purpose and the fundamental charism of the “new school of charity of St. Camillus. Today, the Camillians are engaged in the healthcare ministry of the Church in 37 countries in Europe, Africa, Americas and Asia.
In 1994, the Order has instituted May 25 as the Feast of the Martyrs of Charity in honor of the 300 Camillian martyrs of charity who died witnessing the 4th vow, i.e., service to the sick even in danger to their own lives.
In 1995, the 54th General Chapter of the Order has mandated the General Council to study and establish a Task Force that would respond to the socio-health emergencies of the time. A Central Commission was formed by a group of Camillian religious and lay collaborators whose special task is to organize a special team of health professionals, lay and religious ready to intervene in any event of disasters which was then called the Camillian Task Force (CTF).
The frequency and growing magnitude of natural and man-made disasters calls for the creative engagement of the Camillian Task Force with the vulnerable communities often affected by disasters. In 2015, the CTF was transformed into a legal foundation duly registered to the government of Italy called the Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) Foundation. CADIS adherents serve the most vulnerable families with passion and focused commitment, rooted as it were on the prophetic spirit of St. Camillus de Lellis.
The Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) Foundation is a non-profit, legally registered humanitarian and development organization of the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm (Camillians), a Catholic religious Order founded by St. Camillus de Lellis in 1586.
CADIS serves the humanitarian, psychosocial-pastoral and development needs of people affected by the natural and non-natural disasters. It is an expression of the Order’s commitment and support to the global humanitarian mission by witnessing the mercy and compassion of Christ to those who are sick, suffering and most vulnerable populace.
CADIS is composed of lay people, religious (sisters, brothers and priests) and organizations who share its mission and respect the Catholic social teachings and principles and the Camillian spirituality of service to the sick and suffering even at the risk of their own lives.
CADIS has programs in highly disaster-prone countries of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Benin, Peru and Chile as well as in Italy and Austria. It works in partnership with the local Church where it is present and with other humanitarian organizations in the ground. In most of these countries, CADIS has strategic local offices as well as local partner organizations to ensure timely, coordinated and organized response to emergencies.