Saint John of God

Also known as

  • Juan de Dios
  • Juan Ciudad

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Juan grew up working as a shepherd in the Castile region of Spain. He led a wild and misspent youth, and travelled over much of Europe and north Africa as a soldier in the army of Charles V, and as a mercenary. Fought through a brief period of insanity. Peddled religious books and pictures in Gibraltar, though without any religious conviction himself. In his 40′s he received a vision of the Infant Jesus who called him John of God. To make up for the misery he had caused as a soldier, he left the military, rented a house in Granada, Spain, and began caring for the sick, poor, homeless and unwanted. He gave what he had, begged for those who couldn’t, carried those who could not move on their own, and converted both his patients and those who saw him work with them. Friend of Saint John of Avila, on whom he tried to model his life. John founded the Order of Charity and the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of God.

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Readings

Labour without stopping; do all the good works you can while you still have the time. - Saint John of God

If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy, we can never fail to do good so long as we have the strength. For if we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever he has given to us, we shall receive according to his promise a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! With outstretched arms he begs us to turn toward him, to weep for our sins, and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbors. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.

So many poor people come here that I very often wonder how we can care for them all, but Jesus Christ provides all things and nourishes everyone. Many of them come to the house of God, because the city of Granada is large and very cold, especially now in winter. More than a hundred and ten are now living here, sick and healthy, servants and pilgrims. Since this house is open to everyone, it receives the sick of every type and condition: the crippled, the disabled, lepers, mutes, the insane, paralytics, those suffering from scurvy and those bearing the afflictions of old age, many children, and above all countless pilgrims and travelers, who come here, and for whom we furnish the fire, water, and salt, as well as the utensils to cook their food. And for all of this no payment is requested, yet Christ provides.

I work here on borrowed money, a prisoner for the sake of Jesus Christ. And often my debts are so pressing that I dare not go out of the house for fear of being seized by my creditors. Whenever I see so many poor brothers and neighbours of mine suffering beyond their strength and overwhelmed with so many physical or mental ills which I cannot alleviate, then I become exceedingly sorrowful; but I trust in Christ, who knows my heart. And so I say, “Woe to the man who trusts in men rather than in Christ.” - from a letter written by Saint John of God

MLA Citation

  • “Saint John of God“. Saints.SQPN.com. 30 May 2014. Web. 13 July 2014. <>