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Saint John of God

AKA: Diovanni di Dio
Juan de Dios
Juan Ciudad

Born: March 8, 1495 (Birth Name: Joao Duarte Cidade) in Montemor-o-Novo, Evora, Portugal

Died: March 8, 1550 at Granada, Kingdom of Granada (modern Spain) while praying before a crucifix from an illness he had contracted while saving a drowning man
Relics at Granada

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church

Beatified: September 21, 1630 by Pope Urban VIII

Canonized: October 16, 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII

Feast Day: March 8

Patronages: Against Alcoholism
Against Bodily Ills
Dying People
Heart Patients
Hospital Workers
Places: Tultepec, Mexico

Representation: Alms
Alms Box around his neck
Crown of Thorns

Saint John was born in Portugal in 1495 of humble but virtuous parents.  His early years were spent as a shepherd, in great innocence and virtue; but in 1522 he enlisted in a military company and served against the French and, later, the Turks in Hungary, which Charles V was King of Spain.  Evil associations caused his spirit of piety to decline, but in 1536 he left the army and entered the service of a lady near Seville as a shepherd.

At about forty years of age, he resolved upon an entire change of life and began to devote himself to the service of God.  After some vicissitudes, he settled in Granada in 1538 and opened a shop.  The sermons of Saint John of Avila impressed him to such a degree that in order to draw humiliations upon himself, he acted as a madman.  He desisted from this extraordinary conduct by the command of the holy preacher.

In 1540 Saint John hired a house to harbor sick persons ,and thus laid the foundations of a new Order, the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God.  He devoted himself with unremitting zeal to the care of the sick.  After ten years of hard labor his health deteriorated.  His last illness, as the later portion of his life had been, was mostly edifying.  He expired on his knees before the altar, March 8, 1550 and was canonized in 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII.

Prayer: God, You filled Saint John with the spirit of compassion.  Grant that by practicing works of charity we may deserve to be numbered among the elect in Your Kingdom.  Amen.