Saint John of God

This week, we celebrate the feast of Saint John of God on March 8th. Here we commemorate the life of a simple man who did wonderful and marvelous things. He left a magnificent legacy through the religious order he founded: the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, who serve the world in some 53 countries as dedicated men in service to the care of the poor, sick and vulnerable, including those who are suffering from mental disorders.

Saint John of God was born in Portugal, but found his way to Spain, who claim him proudly. He lived from March 8, 1495 to March 8, 1550. He lost his way from home at the tender age of eight and became a street orphan. He worked as a shepherd, then a soldier, a religious bookseller, and later, a nurse caring for the ill and downtrodden.

He suffered much: the loss of his parents; homelessness; a breakdown and the indignities of a mental asylum… But, he eventually found his way to God and he gave his life to the service of the sick and needy. It is no surprise to us that he gathered followers who made his ministry their life's work to this day. Again, we see the theme of simplicity. We see the works of God made manifest in a man who had lost everything, and his way to and through recovery included giving himself completely to others. This is what Saints are made of. 

In Saint John of God's words we pray: 

Keep your trust in Jesus Christ alone, so that you will be consoled by Him. Though at present you are undergoing trials, it is so that, at the end, your consolation and glory will be the greater, if you bear them for the love of Jesus Christ.

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