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John of God was born of pious parents in 1495 in Montemoro Novo in northern Portugal. Obscure circumstances led to him being absconded from his parents into Spain at the age of nine to be raised by a farmer.

Pleased with his pious character and diligence the farmer insisted that John marry his daughter, whom John viewed as a sister. Unwilling to do so, he enlisted in the army of Emperor Charles V and served in the wars between France and Spain and later against the Turks.

In the army John took on the loose lifestyle of soldiers for which his upright character would later bitterly reproach him.

On leaving the army he made a trip to Portugal in an attempt to find his parents. News of his mother’s premature death after his mysterious disappearance saddened him.

Succeeding years find him engaged in different occupations first in Seville, then Gibraltar and later in Africa, to ransom with his own liberty the Christians held captive by the Moors. At the advice of his confessor he returned to Spain and began selling religious books and pictures as a form of apostolate.

Around this time John, who was now about forty, had a vision of the Infant Jesus holding an open pomegranate (in Spanish “Granada”), Who said to him, “John of God, Granada will be your cross.”

Proceeding to the city of Granada, John was struck to the heart by a sermon of St. John of Avila. Entering a period of intense remorse for his sins, he went about as if deranged beating his breast and calling out for God’s mercy. St. John of Avila convinced him to desist from his lamentations and to take up another method of penance to atone for his past life.

He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Guadeloupe where the Blessed Virgin revealed to him his vocation. On returning to Granada, John of God dedicated his life to the care of the sick and poor. After renting a house, he searched the city for the homeless and afflicted with all sorts of diseases and carried them on his shoulders to shelter. Soon others joined him in the endeavor.

Though St. John of God never officially founded an order in his lifetime, his work was later constituted into the Order of the Hospitallers of St. John of God.

John of God died exhausted by his labors on behalf of the abandoned of society and died on his knees before an altar on March 8, 1550 at age fifty-five. The whole of Granada, rich and poor, the powerful and the weak attended his funeral.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 19, 2021

He asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise....

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April 19

 

A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life. 
A man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom. 
A thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. 
 
One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul 
purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption. 
 

But in the Divine plan it was a thief 
who was the escort of the King of kings 
into Paradise.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Alphege of Canterbury

Alphege hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing...

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St. Alphege of Canterbury

As a youth, Alphege became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst in Gloucestershire, England, afterwards an anchorite and later an abbot in a monastery in Bath. At thirty, at the insistence of St. Dunstan and to his great consternation, he was elected Bishop of Winchester. As bishop, he maintained the same austerity of life as when a monk. During his episcopate he was so generous toward the poor that there were no beggars left in the diocese of Winchester.

Alphege served twenty-two years as bishop of this see and was then translated to the see of Canterbury at the death of Archbishop Aelfric.

During this period, England suffered from the ravages of the Danes who joined forces with the rebel Earl Edric, marched on Kent and laid siege to Canterbury. When the city was betrayed, there was a terrible massacre, men and women, old and young, dying by the sword.

The Archbishop hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing through the crowd begged the Danes to cease the carnage. He was immediately seized, roughly handled, and imprisoned.

A mysterious and deadly plague broke out among the Danes, and, despite the fact that the holy prelate had healed many of their own with his prayers and by giving them blessed bread, the Danes demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release. As the Archbishop protested that the country was too poor to pay such a price, he was brutally assassinated.

St. Alphege was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death. In 1023, the martyr's body was translated with great ceremony to Canterbury accompanied by the Danish King Canute. Although he did not die directly in defense of the Faith, St. Alphege is considered a martyr of justice.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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