St. John of God
St John of God was initially a Portuguese soldier who later became ahealthcare worker in Spain and had so much influence such that hisfollowers ended up forming the Brothers Hospitalliers of Saint John ofGod which is a Catholic Religious Institute solely dedicated to the careof the poor, sick and those with mental health issues.
The Rise of St John of God
Born on the 8th of March 1495 in the Evora District in Portugal, hewas named Joao Duarte Cidade. Saint John of God was from a family withgreat religious faith and when he was 8 years old, he went missing andhis mother died from the grief caused by his disappearance. His fatherjoined a catholic order and this resulted in him being a homeless orphanin Spain until he was taken in as a shepherd by a farmer named FranciscoMayoral.
Pleased with Saint John’s performance the farmer persuaded him to marryhis daughter so that he can be his heir but Saint John was not up forthe idea and he ended up joining the company of foot soldiers as a meansof escaping the farmer. Whilst serving as a foot soldier he wasappointed to guard an enormous loot and he ended up being condemned todeath as he was the main suspect of the loot. It was a narrow escape forhim when he was pardoned and he ended up returning to the farm life andwas doing pastoral farming for the next four years.
Still unmarried, he joined the troops to fight in Hungary against theTurks and he was a trooper for the next eighteen years serving indifferent parts of Europe. He finally decided to return to his hometownand his family as he had been gone for so long such that he hadforgotten his parents’ names. However, he realized that he did not haveany ties with the region after learning about what happened to hisparents.
He returned to Spain and continued with his pastoral work until a pointwhen he was no longer satisfied with his occupation and decided to moveto Africa where he could work to free Christians who were enslavedthere.
Life After Military Work
- His feast day is celebrated on the 8th of March. A church was
built to house his remains in 1757.
5 Interesting Facts About St. John of God
- St. John of God is believed to have a heavenly guest who visited
him during the early days of his charity work
- He exchanged his cloak with any beggar he met.
- His order has been officially entrusted with the medical care of
- His order is present in 53 countries and operates more than 300
hospitals and has more than 45000 members
- The Brothers Hospitallers was formed 20 years after his death.
Prayer to St. John of God
St. John of God,patron of the sick and compassionate Brotherto all who suffer or are troubled in any way,I turn to you with great confidence in my time of need.I ask you John to speak to Jesus on my behalf.He will listen to you because you tried to be like Himin the compassion and love you had for people in need.I know only Jesus can really help me,but I also know that He can be influenced by someone close to Him,I plead with you Brother Johnto present this special intention of mine to Jesusso that He may grant it, according to His will ……(mention theintention).Help me John to strengthen my faith, my hope and lovefor Jesus and our Mother Maryfor whom you had such a special love.All glory to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.Amen