Thursday, March 08, 2012

Fatebenefratelli

Today is the feast of St. John of God, founder of the Order of the Brothers Hospitallers (not to be confused with the Knights Hospitaller); in Italian they are often known as do-good-Brothers. João Cidade was a Portuguese soldier, very devout, who went into a state of shock when listening to a sermon by St. John of Avila; he acted so oddly that he was put in an insane asylum, although he soon recovered after visits from John of Avila, who became his mentor. The experience brought forcefully home to him the extraordinary need there was for people to take good care of the sick poor. He founded a hospital in Granada, Spain, which became famous for the excellence of its care, and established a religious order devoted to hospital-work, the Brothers Hospitallers; in addition to the three solemn religious vows, they take a fourth vow to serve the sick for the rest of their lives. There are many hospitals throughout the world associated with them; and they also run the world's busiest pharmacy, the Farmacia Vaticana.

John of God is patron saint of hospitals, the dying, and the sick. He's also patron saint of firefighters, since one of the most famous stories about him is how, when the Granada Hospital caught fire, he, heedless of the flames, rushed in and saved all the patients.

Brooklyn Museum - St. John of God - Pedro Nolasco y Lara - overall

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