Saint John of God’s Story
SJOG is inspired by our founder’s drive to ‘do good’. We follow his example and continue to add new stories to his 500 year legacy.
Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John Of God O.H., (al secolo João Duarte Cidade) (March 8, 1495 – + March 8, 1550) was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.
He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of Saint John of Avila, he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.
Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by Saint John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.
He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But, excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.
Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, in 1572, formed the Hospitaller of the Brothers of Saint John of God Order (or the Fatebenefratelli, meaning “Do-Good Brothers” in Italian) now a worldwide religious order who’s ethos is:
We believe that every person has the right to be supported in a way that does not degrade their dignity.
John became ill after 10 years of service, but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.
The utter humility of John of God, which led to a totally selfless dedication to others, is most impressive. Here is a man who realized his nothingness in the face of God. The Lord blessed him with the gifts of prudence, patience, courage, enthusiasm, and the ability to influence and inspire others. He saw that in his early life he had turned away from the Lord, and, moved to receive his mercy, John began his new commitment to love others in openness to God’s love.
Prayer for healing
Blessed healer Saint John of God, I implore to hear my request for intercession and thank you in advance for your help, I keep hoping and waiting with all the hope and humility, that my soul and heart be capable.
Grant O Lord that,
by following the example of Saint John of God
whom we carry in our heart and demonstrate in practice
love for the poor, for the sick and needy,
and extend your usual kindness over N.N…..
that You may save, care and heal N.N. ……
who is burdened with ……….
Father, grant him/her help of your healing Power
so that his/her illness is transformed into health
so that the sadness we now have for him/her becomes joy.
Father we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
Pray three Our Fathers, Hail Mary and Glory.
Saint John of God is the Patron Saint of:
Booksellers, Firefighters, Heart Patients, Hospitals, Nurses, Printers, Sick.
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