Blessed José Ollalo Valdés

the beatification portrait of Blessed José Ollalo ValdésAlso known as

  • Poor People’s Priest (though he wasn’t a priest)



José was abandoned as an infant at the age of one month at the Saint Joseph orphanage in Havana, Cuba; he had a note which had his birthdate and the statement that he had not been baptized. The orphanage baptized him 2 days later, and he lived there till he was 7 years old when he was transferred to the Benefencia orphanage, also in Havana.

In 1834 joined the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, finishing his novitiate in April 1835, and assigned to work at the Brothers hospital in Puerto Príncipe (modern Camagüey, Cuba); he worked there as a nurse for the rest of his life. Appointed head nurse of the hospitals in 1845. Chosen prior of the Brothers in Camagüey. The Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba recommended that he enter the priesthood, but Brother José declined as he would not longer be able to continue his work in the hospital. He cared for people during cholera epidemics, and treated the wounded to both sides in the Ten Years War in Cuba from 1868 to 1878; he was able to prevent a massacre of civilians ordered by the Spanish forces. Due to the suppression of religious orders by the Spanish government, he was the only surviving member of the Hospitallers in Cuba for the last 13 years of his life.





MLA Citation

  • “Blessed José Ollalo Valdés“. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 May 2020. Web. 29 September 2021. <>