We celebrate the feastday of St John of God on the 8th March each year. John of God was the face of the Father’s mercy for the people who were sick, for the poor and for the homeless. He lived love, mercy and compassion in a truly extravagant way.
In her letter to the Congregation marking this special Feastday, Sr Brid Ryan wrote, “He was called John of God. He experienced and met God very much among the people and through the people of Granada, Spain, where he began his life of care and service. Those who were poor and despised called forth his compassion and care: From those who were rich he called forth generosity and trust. He responded to those in need without judgement and he trusted that God would provide through the generosity of those who had enough to share.
Today we listen afresh to the invitation of John of God as he SPEAKS TO US OF:
– God among us especially in those who are sick and vulnerable;
– the sacredness and dignity of every person, regardless of age, gender, race, colour or creed;
– inclusive love for those who are rejected and those who are poor,
– the way of compassion and forgiveness”
In today’s western world John of God may not have an attractive curriculum vitae. He would probably be an ‘unknown’ amongst the homeless, and yet he is acknowledged in the Catholic Christian tradition as the Patron Saint of nurses, hospitals, firefighters, the mentally ill, the dying and in this digital age he remains the patron saint of booksellers and printers. Saint John of God is Patron Saint of the Sisters of St John of God.
Image: Details of a painting of St John of God saving sick people from a fire at the Royal Hospital, Granada, Spain by Manuel Gonez-Moreno Gonzalez 1880 and located at the Museum of Bellas Artes, Granada, Spain.