To witness to the merciful love of Christ through service to the poor and sick
Camillian Disaster Service USA (CADIS USA) fulfills in our day the high ideals and original charism which so moved St. Camillus de Lellis to found our order in 1582. Through its disaster relief efforts, our organization witnesses to the merciful love of Jesus by serving the pastoral, medical, psychological and humanitarian needs of those affected by natural and man-made disasters. These victims most often are those who are most vulnerable: the poor, children and the elderly.
Located in Milwaukee, WI, CADIS USA is the United States branch of Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) - the global disaster relief network of the Catholic Order of the Ministers of the Infirm. This network includes religious members as well as lay men and women who are healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, community health workers, pharmacists); pastoral care agents (trauma and HIV counselors; those who visit the sick; chaplains); students, translators and other people committed to providing humanitarian support (food, clothing, logistics). CADIS also partners with the local diocese and parishes, the local government, NGOs and other humanitarian organizations, as well as the local community in which the project resides. By making these partnerships a priority, we believe that positive outcomes for our projects are increased and the results are better sustained by the community once the project is complete.
For more information about the history of St. Camillus de Lellis, the founding of our organization and why we do the work we do, please refer to the areas below.
In present day, the symbol of a red cross represents compassionate care and service to those who are in need but many may not be aware that it’s origin began with St. Camillus de Lellis.
Born in Italy in 1550 to an aging, devout mother and an absent, mercenary father, Camillus de Lellis’ early life was turbulent and plagued with a pension for gambling and fighting just as his father before him. However, after his father’s death, Camillus began his journey toward a more devout life. During his 20s, Camillus has tried multiple times without success to be admitted to a Franciscan monastery but was turned away due to an open wound on his leg that would not heal. After his final attempt, Camillus returned to St. James Hospital in Rome, where he had worked and received care periodically in prior years, as the superintendent. Through his work at St. James, Camillus observed that those caregivers who administered to patients out of love provided the best treatment. These observations led him to believe that priests should be involved in service to the sick and so he was ordained in 1584 and began recruiting priests and lay men into a group that would become the Ministers of the Infirm (or the Order of St. Camillus). The members of the Order were and are distinguished by wearing a red cross on their clothing and by their 4th vow “To serve the sick, even with danger to one’s life”.
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 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.
"Grounded in the love and mercy of Jesus, with St. Camillus in our hearts, we promote and inspire the development of community-based integral health programs for the well-being of disaster-stricken communities through compassionate, competent and coordinated interventions."
CADIS envisions fullness of life in a resilient community. (Cf. John 10:10)
Timeline of Camillian Disaster Service
1995 – The General Chapter of the Order of St. Camillus votes to establish the Camillian Task Force (CTF), teams of lay people, priests and religious that will serve the medical and pastoral needs of those affected by man-made and natural disasters.
1999 – MSF (Medécins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders) wins the Nobel Peace Prize. The successful activities of MSF and the increasing number of man-made and natural disasters give greater impetus to the development of the CTF. It can be “A Catholic Doctors Without Borders”.
2001 – The General Chapter of the Order of St. Camillus reconfirms its intention to establish the CTF
2001 – Father Angelo Brusco, the Superior General of the Order of St. Camillus, forms the Central Commission of the CTF. It includes Fr. Antonio Menegon (chairman); Frs. Pietro Magliozzi, MD (secretary); Fr. Sergio Palumbo (treasurer); Fr. Scott Binet, MD; Deacon Massimo Miraglio; Mr. Renato Bicego .
2001-2002 – The Central Commission under the leadership of Father Antonio Menegon meets numerous times concerning the structure, mission and funding of the CTF. Frs. Pietro Magliozzi and Scott Binet publish many articles about the CTF in Camilliani/Camillians, the official publication of the Order of St. Camillus.
2002 – A CTF bank account is established in Rome and provincials of the Order of St. Camillus donate to the CTF.
2002 – Fr. Scott Binet, MD, OSCam is nominated by the Central Commission to be the animator and coordinator of the CTF.
2003 – An organizational secretariat for the CTF is established in Turin, Italy. A CTF website is designed.
2003 – Fr. Scott begins preparation for his January-July, 2004 mission as the animator and coordinator of the Camillian Task Force.
2004 – November, Fr. Scott Binet is given official mandate as coordinator of the CTF by the Father General of the Order of St. Camillus.
2004-2014 – CTF continues its good work throughout the world with partner offices in Thailand, India, The Philippines, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Australia, Taiwan and the United States.
2015 – The Consulta of the Order of St. Camillus has approved the motion to establish a Foundation that will hold responsibility and promote initiatives related to post-disaster response, which is known as the Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS). Now, the Camillian Task Force (CTF) is known as the Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) Foundation.
We deliver and conduct immediate relief services to survivors of natural and non-natural disasters by providing food and non-food items, supporting the medical, psycho-emotional and spiritual needs.
We assist survivors to rebuild their families and communities by restoring and improving what has been lost and destroyed such as livelihood, shelter and social cohesion in their community.
We strengthen and build people's capacities and improve their social condition that will enhance self-protection and rebuild community assets to protect them from adverse impacts of disasters.
We long for an enduring impact and transformation to the lives of the vulnerable families and communities by nurturing their consciousness to the fundamental rights and obligations to protect the individual, community and our "common home".
Respect for human dignity is at the heart of who we are and what we do. Every person has inviolable rights founded on justice. Thus, everyone has the right to life, quality service and total well-being, free from want, fear and hazard impacts.
Justice, Fairness and solidarity
We uphold justice and fairness in our dealings. We work for social justice and foster human solidarity in our partnerships with vulnerable communities and societies we work in.
Competence, Accountability and Transformation
We are committed to employing and being held accountable to high standards of practice. We continuously challenge ourselves to improve towards efficiency and effectivity, through strategic skills, harness methods and appropriate technologies to transform our partner communities and ourselves. Constant innovation towards excellence in our caring and service defines our process.
Courage and Witness
Our courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak up when we have concerns and to have the vision and personal strength to innovate and embrace new ways of working and relating to others. We bear witness to the human capacity to overcome adversity and suffering, connecting people to hope.
Integral to the work of CADIS is how care is given, based on empathy, respect, and dignity. Our compassion then, as intelligent kindness, is central to how people perceive our care. For us, caring is as important as care and our highest calling is to provide comfort to those in distress and nurture capability in the vulnerable, regardless of class, gender, age, culture and religion. Great care is at the heart of everything we do.
Integrity, Diversity and Inclusion
We honor the integrity of every person and the diversity of peoples, cultures and communities. We commit to foster an enabling environment, privileging every voice towards participation and inclusion. We forge understanding and mutual respect; we labor for equitable development and peace.
Active Listening, collaboration and teamwork
We are committed to working collaboratively and in partnership with all stakeholders, actively listening to facilitate, negotiate and build consensus and strong teams to empower others, We are committed to bring together people, organizations and institutions that can pool knowledge, skills and resources, to work together to have most effective impact. Good communication is central to successful collaborative partnerships, working relationships and effective teamwork.
We honor our obligations in the partnership of equals, meet commitments and act responsibly with public and personal trust, to consistently deliver value to our stakeholders. We adhere to transparent financial accounting procedures and freedom of information.
Learning, Creativity and excellence
We embrace learning, creativity and change as a way of life. Reflective distance allows us space for deep thought, increasing our consciousness of the whole, enabling is to serve the whole. By our mindfulness, we contribute to the sustainability of people, the humanization of societies and the stewards of creation.
WHO WE SERVE
Post Hurricane Matthew Recovery - Jeremie, Haiti
Presently, CADIS USA is raising funds to support the Post Hurricane Matthew Recovery Project in Ranja, Haiti. Although Hurricane Matthew landed in Haiti in Fall 2016, the lack of government assistance and the financial vulnerability of the population has made it difficult for families and communities in Ranja to rebuild their homes, protect their health, and recover or build stable livelihoods. To do this CADIS and their partners will implement the following project areas:
A total of 103 houses were totally destroyed as well as an additional 20 homes that were partially destroyed by the Category 4 Hurricane Matthew. Many of these homes will be relocated and/or constructed on land owned by the Diocese of Jeremie, Haiti where these families will also be involved in a planned Ranja Agricultural College. To create stronger structures, the new homes will be constructed out of corrugated roof sheets (toles), wood frame trusses, cement and steel bars as opposed to river sand, cement and grasses used in the construction of the homes that were lost. The families as well as professional home builders will work together to do the labor involved in building these homes.
The water and sanitation situation in Haiti is among the direst in the Western hemisphere. Haiti is considered a water-stressed country but total available water resources per capita are about 1,660 cubic meters. However less than 1% of these available resources are in use. Few water treatment facilities are properly functioning for the general public in the country and soil erosion and deforestation have also contributed to diminished water quality.
Many people in the Ranja community have been using the local river for washing, cooking, bathing, watering plants and for drinking since their houses are located much nearer to the river than to the fountain. The plan is to set up three distribution points near the new settlements where water will be brought from the fountain down closer to the communities which will help reduce the spread of dangerous diseases.
Families living in Ranja do not have sanitation facilities (toilets) in their homes so many use the river. As we indicated above in the water portion of the project, this community uses the same river for cooking, washing and even for drinking water. As a result, diseases prevalent in the area such as malaria,fever, typhoid, cholera and influenza are an imminent health risk to the families living in this community.
The members of the community of Ranja proposed to have a toilet in each houses for the new settlements. A public toilet will also be built in the relocation site using EcoSan (ecological sanitation) technology. This technology will be provided by a group called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihood). EcoSan is based on three principles:  the prevention of pollution rather than an attempt to control or mitigate it after the fact;  the sanitization of urine and feces; and  using the resulting safe products to enhance agricultural production (https://www.oursoil.org/).
Two-fifths of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming. This way of farming remains vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. Poverty, corruption, vulnerability to natural disasters, and low levels of education for much of the population are among Haiti's most serious impediments to economic growth.
People in Ranja are primarily engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. They cultivate sugar cane (used to produce local wine), manioch (to bake bread), banana, vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, legumes and other leafy vegetables. They raised animals such as cows, goats, pigs, and chicken. Hurricanes have caused losses to agriculture and livestock of Ranja amounting to almost $130,000 USD. The only plants that remain are sugar cane and manioc or cassava and there were only a few animals left. Using area resources such as a local agricultural college for technical assistance and training, irrigation canals are being constructed, a water pump machine had been installed, and a new road network is being constructed linking Ranja to Jeremie, the capital city. Also a bridge will be constructed linking Ranja to the City of Marfranc, the main commune where most of the agri-products are sold.
To help the community become stable financially, a micro-credit union has been organized in Ranja. It has 31 members which is about one third (1/3) of the population of this village. The association has been in existence for the past two years. It is providing loans to qualified members at a very minimal interest and condition. It has a capital fund of about 77,000 HTG ($1,200 USD). However, all these monies were lost in the strong rain and wind of Hurricane Matthew. Nothing has been recovered and the union is in need of a new capital fund to restart.
Grandma’s House - The Republic of Georgia
As a result of the Georgian-Russian War in August 2008, the ethnic Georgians living in South Ossetia were forced at a moment’s notice to leave their homes and most of their belongings fleeing for their lives over the border to the Republic of Georgia. A refugee camp was formed in a small village located between the town of Gori and the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi by the government of Georgia. The camp is located near South Ossetia and the residents are able to see their old villages and homes where they will most likely never be able to go back to again.
The families living in the refugee camp are suffering from a lack of government assistance, employment and resources as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to their experiences during the war. It has been especially hard for the children living in the refugee camp. Their traumatic experiences have brought them emotional stress making it hard for them to focus while attending school or even trust each other enough to make friends. To help bring a sense of community to the camp as well as a safe place for the children, the Camillian Religious in Georgia, in partnership with Camillian Disaster Service, created “La Casetta della Nonna”, or “Grandma’s House” in 2009. At Grandma’s House, the children can explore their passions in dance, art, music, history, and Georgian classes. They are able to express their feelings in regards to their traumatic histories surrounded by people they can trust. Presently, the staff at Grandma’s House have seen great changes in the children. They are improving in their studies as well as their social-emotional skills. Grandma’s House has been a safe haven to these children and will continue into the future with our donors’ generosity.
Kristine is a 7-year-old girl living in the refugee camp where Grandma’s House is located. She lives with her four sisters, her brother, her grandmother and her parents in a two-room house with a small garden. Often for Kristine and her family, the only food available to them are the fruits and vegetables grown in their garden. When she grows up, Kristine would like to become a doctor so that she can be well-respected and help her family financially. Kristine has a passion for drawing and painting. Her teachers at Grandma’s House often have a hard time keeping her stocked with paper, paint and crayons as she is always creating beautiful artwork. Kristine has a wonderful imagination and often wonders what it would be like to be a beautiful swallow - living without borders and marveling over the world while flying at great heights.
Beka is 12 years and resides in the refugee camp with his family. Last summer Beka and his family traveled to Mtskheta, a very important city for Georgian people. It was the country’s first capital and a religious center for the Georgian Orthodox Christian Church. Beka came across a renovation of one of the churches in the city and the construction workers let Beka help them at work, which he did eagerly. Beka carried materials and helped at simple renovation tasks. He was proud of the many things about construction work he learned during this experience. He thinks that every boy should have such an experience in order to help his parents at home. Several weeks ago Beka went to an airport and could see a real plane from a very close distance. That impressed him a lot. Ever since, he has dreamed of traveling on board a plane to Portugal, Italy or France. He says this is where the best football (soccer) is played. He would love to see a live football game. Beka enjoys learning geography. He also likes animals, especially Rocky - the dog which they take care of at Grandma’s House.
When you donate to CADIS USA, you can be confident that your information is secure. CADIS USA never sells or rents the personal information of its donors. We cherish your special relationship with us and through us, to the desperate victims of man-made and natural disasters.
Thank you very much for being open to the generous love of God that He pours into every willing heart! God bless you!
wAYS TO Donate
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10101 W Wisconsin Ave
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
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Thank you for considering naming Camillian Disaster Service USA (CADIS USA) as a beneficiary of your will or trust. A gift through your estate ensures that your commitment to helping the victims of disaster repair and rebuild their lives will continue beyond your lifetime, having a lasting impact on CADIS USA’s work to serve those in need.
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jOIN tHE cAMILLIANS
Do you hear the call to serve?
Serving the sick as a physician, nurse, chaplain, technician, social worker, therapist, administrator, or other allied healthcare profession is challenging, rewarding and vitally important work. For some men this work is a vocation - a call to fulfill themselves by serving the sick as a member of a religious community. For these men, the common mission is the opportunity to serve the sick while growing personally and spiritually as they transcend immediate material needs and find meaning in their lives by making a difference.
Throughout the world The Order of St. Camillus has an action-filled apostolate; it is a demanding call to action on some of the most dangerous, impoverished fronts of society. But Camillians know the special rewards of an incarnate spirituality: they see God in the people they serve.