Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 8 March – St John of God

Saint of the Day – 8 March – St John of God O.H. (1495-1550 – aged 55) – Founder of the  Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, a worldwide Catholic religious institute dedicated to the care of the poor, sick, and those suffering from mental disorders.  Patronages –  against alcoholism, against bodily ills, against sickness, of alcoholics, bookbinders, booksellers, dying people, firefighters, heart patients, hospitals (proclaimed on 22 June 1886 by Pope Leo XIII), hospital workers, nurses (proclaimed in 1930 by Pope Pius XI), publishers, printers, the sick, Tultepec, Mexico

by Pedro de Raxis,

As a 16th-century Spanish soldier, John gave up religion and led a wild life.   When he left the military at age 40, he became a shepherd.   John decided to make a radical conversion—to go to Muslim North Africa and free Christian slaves.   He saw himself dying as a martyr.   His confessor helped John settle on a more prudent plan: to open a religious bookstore in Granada, Spain.   He successfully managed this project.    It was during this period of his life that Cidade is said to have had a vision of the Infant Jesus, who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also directing him to go to Granada.    He then settled in that city, where he worked disseminating books, using the recent movable type printing press of Johannes Gutenberg to provide people with works of chivalry and devotional literature.

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Saint John of God by Murillo (1672)

One day, John heard St John of Ávila (1500-1569) Doctor of the Church, preach and felt he must do something to show he had converted.   John began publicly beating himself, tearing his hair, behaving wildly.   He gave his books away.    People threw stones at him and he was committed to a mental institution.  John of Ávila calmed John and persuaded him to spend his energy caring for people who were sick and poor.   John rented a house near Granada where those who were lepers, lame, mentally ill, paralysed and deaf found shelter.

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St John of God saving the Sick from a Fire at the Royal Hospital in 1549 by Manuel Gómez-Moreno González (1880)

At first, John begged for money to support those in need but soon people volunteered to help.   John led a life of total giving and constant prayer.   He found work for unemployed people.   When the archbishop called John to his office because people complained that John kept immoral women in his hospital, he was silenced by John’s humility.   John fell on his knees, saying, “I know of no bad person in my hospital except myself, who am unworthy to eat the bread of the poor.”   John soon had a flourishing hospital.   His helpers formed a community called the Brothers Hospitallers.

John of God died from pneumonia contracted while saving a drowning man. When John realised he was dying, he went over all the accounts, revised the rules and timetable and appointed a new leader.   He died kneeling before the altar in his hospital chapel.   John is the patron of hospitals.

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Founder Statue at the Vatican

The first biography of John of God was written by Francisco de Castro, the chaplain at John of God’s hospital in Granada, Spain.   He drew from his personal knowledge of John as a young man and also used material gathered from eyewitnesses and contemporaries of his subject.   It was published at the express wish of the Archbishop of Granada, who gave financial backing to its publication.    Castro began writing in 1579, twenty-nine years after John of God’s death but he did not live to see it published, for he died soon after completing the work.   His mother, Catalina de Castro, had the book published in 1585.

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Statue of St John of God at the Church of Vilar de Frades, Barcelos, Portugal.
The inscription reads: All things pass, only good works last.

 

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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