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St. John of God

Saint John of God


John was born in 1495 to a pious Portuguese couple. He worked as a shepherd in Spain for many years, and then as a soldier in the armies of Emperor Charles V. In the military John gradually lost much of his former fervor for the faith, though he continued striving to do penance once he left. In his early 40s, John heard St. John of Ávila, the “Apostle of Andalusia”, preach a homily in Granada on the feast of St. Sebastian. Totally converted, John renounced all he had, almost going mad with zeal until John of Ávila calmed him and became his spiritual advisor. John devoted himself to caring for the poor, at first alone, until the Bishop of Tui gave John his appellation “John of God” and an informal habit. Gradually a congregation formed, centered on the hospital John founded in Granada. When this hospital caught fire, John miraculously rescued every patient, passing several times through the flames uninjured. John of God died, mourned by the whole city, in the year of Our Lord 1550, having fallen ill after saving a man from drowning. The Hospitaller Order of the Brothers of St. John of God still carry on his work.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for March 8th

AT Granada, in Spain, St. John of God, founder of the Order of the Brothers Hospitallers, celebrated for his mercy to the poor, and his contempt of self. Pope Leo XIII declared him heavenly patron of hospitals and the infirm.

At Antinous, a city of Egypt, the birthday of the holy martyr Philemon, and the deacon Apollonius. As they firmly refused to sacrifice to the idols when they were apprehended and brought before the judge, they had their heels transpierced, were barbarously dragged through the city, and finally consummated their martyrdom by the edge of the sword.

Also, in the same place, the passion of the Saints Arian, governor, Theoticus and three others, who were submerged in the sea by order of the judge. Their bodies were brought to the shore by dolphins.

At Nicomedia, St. Quinctilis, bishop and martyr.

At Carthage, St. Pontius, deacon of bishop St. Cyprian, who remained in banishment with him until his death, and composed an excellent history of his life and martyrdom. By ever glorifying God in his own sufferings, he merited the crown of life.

Also in Africa, the Saints Cyril, bishop, Rogatus, Felix, another Rogatus, Beata, Herenia, Felicitas, Urbanus, Sylvanus, and Mamillus.

At Toledo, in Spain, the demise of blessed Julian, bishop and confessor, most celebrated for his sanctity and learning.

In England, St. Felix, bishop, who converted the East-Angles to the faith.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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