St John of God

Reprinted from The Common Good, no. 20, Pentecost 2001

So many poor people come here that I very often wonder how we can care for them all, but Jesus Christ provides all things and nourishes everyone. Many of them come to the house of God because the city of Granada (in Spain) is large and very cold, especially now in winter. More than one hundred and ten are now living here, sick and healthy, servants and pilgrims. Since this house is open to everyone, it receives the sick of every type and condition: the crippled, the disabled, lepers, mutes, the insane, paralytics, those suffering from scurvy and those bearing the afflictions of old age, many children, and above all countless pilgrims and travellers, who come here, and for whom we furbish the fire, water and salt, as well as the utensils to cook their food. And for all of this, no payment is requested, yet Christ provides.

I work here on borrowed money, a prisoner for the sake of Jesus Christ. And often my debts are so pressing I dare not go out of the house for fear of being seized by my creditors. Whenever I see so many poor brothers and neighbours of mine suffering beyond their strength and overwhelmed with so many physical or mental ills which I cannot alleviate, then I become exceedingly sorrowful. But I trust in Christ who knows my heart.

—St John of God (1495 – 1550)

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