This was the stark and simple, yet profoundly beautiful beginning of the work that today still bears his name. The man, John, huddling with his cold, hungry and weary companions in one corner of the porchway of Venegas’ house had no idea of the movement he was founding. St. John of God Services has continued to strive to carry this love, care and compassion to people down through the centuries.
Hospitality is the name given to the great gift of care and welcome which John gave to the poor, the homeless, the sick and the dying and many others in the city of Granada over 460 years ago.
Today John’s followers are known as the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God. They continue his mission of caring for the poor and sick in over 50 countries around the world.
Our Founder, St. John of God
Born: 1495; Died: 1550; Canonized: 1690
In 1537, John Cuidad (later known as St. John of God), was a little-known bookseller in the city of Granada, Spain. He was struggling to put his life back together again after spending a period as a patient in the psychiatric wing of the Royal Hospital, where he was placed after experiencing a religious conversion so dramatic that many people thought he was insane.
He was homeless and disillusioned, yet he felt a strong attraction to improve the situation of the many men, women and children, who like himself, were homeless and marginalized from the mainstream of society. John was fortunate that he had friends who respected him. One of these friends allowed John to shelter from the bitter cold of winter nights in the porchway of his house.
Sensitive to the suffering and pain of the many homeless people and travellers who sought shelter in doorways of where they could find it, John began to bring those who were sick and weak and those unable to cope, to share his accommodations in the porch of the house of his friend, Venegas.