Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 8 March

detail from a painting of Saint John of God saving sick people from a fire at the royal hospital, by Manuel Gomez-Moreno Gonzalez, 1880; Museo de Bellas Artres, Granada, Spain; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint John of God

Whilst yet only a poor travelling vendor, Saint John of God already showed an apostolic spirit, and made use of his occupation, not only to disseminate pious images and catechisms, but also tactfully to slip in a few words of exhortation to the buyers. God willed that he should be the founder of the Order of Nursing Brothers who bear his name, and were approved by our own Pope Pius V. Saint John carried his humility so far as to try to pass for an idiot, but his charity surpassed all his other virtues. He was seen, during a fire in one of the hospitals he had founded, going through the flames and carrying out the sick in his arms till they were beyond the reach of danger; he had only his eyebrows burnt, as a sign of the miracle by which he had been preserved from the flames. Understanding well that an alms bestows as great a benefit on the giver as on the receiver, he used to say when begging: “Gentlemen, do good to yourselves.” He was particularly devout to the Blessed Virgin and he had also received from God the gift of tears. He died on his knees in prayer, pressing his crucifix to his heart, and remained in this attitude after having rendered up his soul to God (1550). Booksellers’ shops are placed under his protection, as he was in early life a vendor of books and objects of piety.

Prayer

“I have chosen to be last in Thy house, O my God, rather than dwell among sinners.” (Psalm 83:11)

Practice

Make a visit to some hospital or else send an alms.