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Saint John of God


John of God was born about the year 1495, in Portugal, to a family of the humblest rank, but of faithful Christian practice. He became a soldier and wanderer, and fell at one time into a loose habit of life. But at the age of forty he heard a sermon, by which the grace of God touched him, and he began to shew tokens of true reformation. Soon he was filled with schemes of charity, and thereupon, by begging, he collected funds sufficient to build, in Grenada, Spain, a large double hospital wherein he laboured heroically for the sick.

Here also he founded a new Order, namely, that of the Hospital Brethren. And thence his charity extended far and wide to the poor everywhere. Once when the Royal Hospital of Granada took fire, he fearlessly rushed into the flames, and for a half hour delivered the sick in safety through the windows to men outside, and thereafter himself came forth safely; for greater in him was the fire of charity than any earthly flame. He was most careful in encouraging the virtue of chastity in all whom he knew. He was a marked example of every kind of austerity, of the most lowly obedience, of the deepest voluntary poverty, of the most constant prayer, of ghostly contemplation, and of love towards the blessed Virgin. He was also distinguished for the gift of tears.

Being at last seized by deadly sickness, he knelt down before the altar, to adore Christ Crucified, and thus, on the eighth day of March, 1550, departed to the Lord, being fifty-five years of age. He was canonized in 1690, and in 1886 was declared to be the heavenly Patron of hospitals and sick folk, and of those who nurse them, and his name was thereupon inserted in the Litany for the Dying.


O GOD, who didst enkindle with thy love the heart of thy blessed servant Saint John, that he was thereby enabled to walk unhurt amid the flames of fire, and hast through him enriched thy Church with a new offspring: grant that by the help of his merits our sins may be purged with the fire of thy charity, and our souls healed to the attainment of everlasting salvation. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1130-1131

Additional Information:

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