The Portuguese Saint of Montemor-o-Novo
Founder of modern Hospitals, protector of the sick, firefighters and nurses.
João Cidade (henceforth John) was born in Montemor-o-Novo in 1495, on an unknown day and month. His parents, André Cidade and Teresa Duarte, were fruit merchants and they educated John according to Christian values from an early age. When John was eight years old, he went to Oropesa - Spain, in little known circumstances to this day, maybe in the company of a pilgrim or cleric. John was welcomed into the house of the Mayor of the Count of Oropesa and worked as a flock-keeper.
In 1523, his adventurous spirit led him to join the army of King Charles V of Spain, taking part in the war against the French in Fuenterrabia and in 1532 in Vienna against the Turks, who were threatening to invade Europe. When John came back from war, he wanted to return to his origins. In Portugal, he only found an uncle and, with nothing to bind him to his homeland, he returned to Spain, but this time to the south. From there, he left for Ceuta, where he was employed by an exiled Portuguese nobleman. This was also his first great act of generosity: in order to provide for this family, which were in dire living conditions, he worked in the construction of the city walls.
John returned to Spain in 1538, staying for a while in Gibraltar. Legend has it that a boy appeared to him with a pomegranate (Granada in Castilian) in his hand and said " John, Granada will be your cross". John left for the city of under that name and there the greatest transformation of his life would take place.
When he heard a sermon by St. John of Avila (then a priest) on 20 January 1539, he took a radical stance against the hypocrisy that prevailed in Granada society at the time. Because of his attitudes, he was considered mad and was admitted to the Royal Hospital, where he suffered the effects of the treatment given to patients diagnosed as mentally ill at the time.
A mad dream assailed him at that time: to found a hospital where he could properly treat those who were suffering. He took St. John of Avila as his spiritual mentor, and with his advice, he undertook the "mad adventure" of founding a small hospital. He went through the streets of Granada helping and carrying those who could not manage on their own and brought them to his hospital, who were separated by disease, where he treated the wounds of "body and soul". John walked the streets of the city proclaiming the singular preaching: "Brothers, do good for yourself by doing good for others".
A remarkable episode in his life was the fire that broke out in the Royal Hospital of Granada in 1549. John bravely saved many patients and fought the fire. The whole city of Granada acknowledged him and called him John of God, the Saint of Granada.
Even his death was caused by the good he did: to save a boy from drowning in the Genil river, John threw himself into the water, however he could not save the child and caught bronchopneumonia which would lead to his death.
On March 8, 1550, in a dialogue with God, he died with a reputation for holiness. John of God was a man who, living in his own time, knew how to be innovative and project himself into the future. Therefore, he was considered the Patron Saint of modern Hospitals, protector of the sick, firemen and nurses. A man who found God in the love of his brothers.
The current name of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God expresses our Identity, because the reason for our existence in the Church is to live and manifest the charism of Hospitality according to the style of St. John of God. Consecrated to the Father by the Spirit, we follow closely the chaste, poor, obedient and merciful Christ. Thus, we cooperate in the ediﬁcation of the Church, serving God by helping those who suffer.
The Charism inherited from St. John of God is thus deﬁned in the current Constitutions of his Hospitaller Order: By virtue of this gift, we are consecrated by the action of the Holy Spirit, who makes us sharers, in a unique way, in the merciful love of the Father.
This experience transmits to us attitudes of benevolence and dedication, enables us to carry out the mission of announcing and bringing about the Kingdom among the poor and the sick; transforms our existence and manifests, through our lives, the special love of the Father for the weak, whom we seek to save, according to the style of Jesus.
The Mission of the Hospitaller Order is to dedicate itself to the service of the Church in assisting the sick and the needy, with a preference for the poorest.
The impetus given by St. John of God, in the manner of Christ, in welcoming and caring for the sick and needy has marked the charismatic expression of the Institution that perpetuates his spirit and has been an inspiration for other Institutions to appear in the Church with a similar purpose.
Hence, it is worth mentioning that an alliance should always be established between Brothers and Collaborators, based on the gift of Hospitality, acting as an impulse and incentive to develop one's own vocation, in order to find a manifestation of the merciful love of God for mankind towards the poor and needy.
Brothers and Collaborators united to promote and serve life.
PRINCIPLES OF THE HOSPITALLER ORDER
The centre of interest for all of us who live and work in the hospital or in any other social work is the person being cared for;
Promote and defend the rights of the sick and needy, taking into account their personal dignity;
Commit oneself resolutely to the defence and promotion of human life;
Recognise the right of the assisted person to be adequately informed about his or her health condition;
Observe the requirements of professional secrecy, ensuring that they are equally respected by all those who approach patients;
Oppose profit-seeking by observing and demanding that fair economic standards are not undermined;
Respecting the freedom of conscience of the people we care for and that of our collaborators, but ﬁrstly demanding that the identity of our hospital centres is accepted and respected;
Value and promote the qualities and professionalism of our collaborators and encourage them to participate actively in the mission of the Order and, according to their abilities and degree of responsibility, to make them participants in the decision-making process of our Apostolic Works;
Defend the right to die with dignity, respecting and satisfying the fair wishes and spiritual needs of those who are about to die, aware that human life has a temporal end and is called to its fullness in Christ.
- S. João de Deus
Saint John of God (Christian Name: João Cidade) was born in Montemor-o-Novo - Évora
John of God leaves his home and settles in Oropesa (Spain)
His father dies in a convent in Lisbon. John of God joins the Army of King Charles V of Spain in 1523, in the reconquest of Fuenterrabia, in the Pyrenees, against the French.
John of God returns to Oropesa
John of God acts again as a soldier. Now in Vienna against the Turks
John of God returns to Montemor-o-Novo, but then heads to Seville
John of God goes to Ceuta (Portuguese); he works in the fortification of the city and helps a family in dire living conditions
John of God returns to Spain and sells books in Gibraltar. He then moves to Granada, where he opens a small bookshop
On 20 January, during a sermon on the feast of St. Sebastian, John of God suffers a crisis of conversion that leads him to the hospital, where he is deemed insane. He founds a hospital on Rua Lucena
John of God receives his first disciples: Antão Martin and Pedro Velasco
John of God relocates its hospital to a larger building, a former convent, on the Encosta de Los Gomeles
John of God goes to Valladolid to the court to ask for the help of Prince Philip (II)
John of God rescues the Royal Hospital patients from a fire
John of God dies on 8 March in the House of Pisas, in Granada
Reading the six letters of St. John of God helps us to understand better his life and work.
One of these letters was addressed to Luis Baptista, a young man of weak character and will, from Jaén, Andalusia, who sympathised with the charitable work of John of God. John answered him, as a good educator, with the seriousness of a teacher and the affection of a father, not failing to point out his weaknesses.
Two letters from the Jaén archives are addressed to Guterres Lasso de Veja, a noble knight of the Order of Santiago, born in Malaga, Andalusia. He met St. John of God when the latter came to his house to beg for alms, and was charmed by his candour, simplicity and charity. Without repulsion, Guterres welcomed him at least twice in his palace and ate with him at table, having established a cordial relationship with John. This nobleman rendered relevant services to John of God.
The last addressee of the letters that have come down to us is Maria de los Cobos Mendoza, 3rd Duchess of Sesa, the most distinguished benefactress of St. John of God and his assistance work. To her, the beggar of God addressed three long letters asking for help for his protégés, explaining the doctrine of the most profound spiritual direction and encouraging her to bear the absence of her "generous and humble husband" with tranquillity.
After her husband's death, Maria devoted herself to works of piety: she founded a Franciscan convent in Baena and transformed her palace in Granada into the Convent of Piety and the Holy Spirit, for Dominican nuns, reserving some chambers for herself, where she lived more as a nun than as a Duchess, ultimately dying on 28 May 1604.
- St. Juan Grande Román
Feast: 3 June.
Juan Grande Román, son of Cristóbal Grande and Isabel Román, was born in Carmona, Seville (Spain), on 6 March 1546. In 1565, he went to Jerez de la Frontera and there he dedicated himself fully to the service of God, by adopting the name of John the Sinner. Thus, he began a new experience that led him to care for the needs of the elderly and the poor.
Juan Grande got acquainted with the work of St. John of God in Granada and joined it, adopting the rules and applying in his hospital in Jerez de la Frontera the same style and care as St. John of God did.
In 1600, a plague epidemic ravaged the entire region and the city of Jerez. Juan Grande was infected, fell ill on 26 May, and died on 3 June, at the ward of the Hospital of Our Lady of Candelaria. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX on 13 November 1853 and canonised by St. John Paul II on 2 June 1996.
St. Juan Grande Román devoted himself to the service of God, especially by helping prisoners, the poor and the sick; his public life of service was based on his life of faith and prayer, the keys to his spirituality. He lived fully dedicated to his community and hospital. He was an example of intellectual magnanimity when he wanted to implement an idea of care and found that others were already doing what he wanted, and he joined them.
- St. Richard Pampuri
Feast: 1 May.
Ricardo Pampuri died young, aged 33, but his life was an example of living values, of commitment to both professional and religious life.
He was born in Trivolzio, Pavia, on 2 August 1897, the tenth of 11 children of Innocent Pampuri and Angela Campari. They gave him the name of Erminio Filippo Pampuri. At the age of three, after the death of his mother, he went to live with his grandfather, where the Christian spirit was very strong and served as his moral foundation. A distinguished and exemplary student, he pursued his studies in Medicine at the University of Pavia, graduating with an honours degree in July 1921. Already working as a doctor in Morimondo, Milan, he had his true calling to religious life and, guided by priest Riccardo Beretta, he joined the Hospitaller Order on 22 June 1927. When he was given his religious habit, he asked to be called Riccardo (Richard) as a sign of gratitude to his mentor and counsellor. At the Order, he taught the Brothers' nursing course and became responsible for the dental surgery. He was a very kind, modest and generous man, helping all the poor people he met.
Richard became very ill in 1930 and on 18 April, his health deteriorated. he was taken to the "San Giuseppe" hospital in Milan. Many people went to visit him there, many university colleagues and fellows. When they left the ward where Richard was in, he would say to everyone, "See you in Heaven". Richard died on 1 May 1930. Pope John Paul II beatified him in October 1981. St. Richard Pampuri was canonised on 1 November 1989.
- St. Benedict Menni
Feast: 24 April.
Angelo Ercole was born in Milan on 11 March 1841. At the age of 16, he began working for a large Milanese bank looking forward to a promising future, but the way he saw life was not in line with this reality and another perspective opened up for him: a life of selflessness, in consecration or in priesthood. It was the desire to share his existence in effective solidarity that made him join the Hospitaller Order. He applied for admission to the Hospitaller Order on 19 April 1860, changed his name to Benedict Menni and made his solemn vows on 17 May 1864. After being ordained a priest (14 October 1866), he was called to restore the Order in Spain, sent by the Superior General, Father Alfieri and Pope Pius IX. Spain was followed by the restoration of the Order in Portugal at the end of the 19th century, and in Mexico, in the early 20th century.
St. Benedict Menni founded the congregation of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus together with Maria Josefa Recio and Maria Angustias Giménez, whom he met in Granada during the restoration of the Order in Spain.
He was Superior General of the Order between 1911 and 1912. On 24 April 1914, he died in Dinan (France). Throughout his life, he set up 22 centres including asylums, general hospitals and psychiatric hospitals. In 1985, he was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II who canonised him on 21 November 1999.
St. Benedict Menni was persistent in hospitality, anchored in faith and God's mercy. In the face of injustice, he responded with mercy. In the face of uncertainty, he showed complete trust in God. All his work is an example of total recognition of the presence of Jesus in the sick person ("I was sick and you looked after me" Mt 25:36). He was a pioneer in treating the person as a whole, putting the sick at the centre of care, instituting care to all the symptoms of the sick person without losing the humanising dimension of care, particularly those affected by mental illnesses.
- Blessed Olallo Valdés
Feast: 12 February.
The Venerable Servant of God José Olallo Valdés was born in Havana, Cuba, on 12 February 1820. The great reputation for his holiness was born of his life as a modest, just man with a generous soul. A model of virtue with an ardent love for the weak. He knew how to become a faithful follower of the Order's Founder.
Olallo Valdés applied for admission to the Hospitaller Order in 1834. His mission was carried out at the Hospital of St. John of God in Camagüey, and was particularly challenging at the time of the Cuban Ten Years' War (1868-1878). He died on 7 March 1889. Olallo Valdés was beatified on 29 November 2008 in Camagüey (Cuba) in a ceremony presided over by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins.
- Blessed Eustachius Kugler
Feast: 10 June.
Eustachius Kugler, Brother and Provincial of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in Bavaria, at the time of Hitler's rise to power, from 1925 to 1946, the year of his death, was beatified on 4 October 2009 in Regensburg (Regensburg), Germany.
Eustachius was born on 15 January 1867 in Neuhaus, Germany. He made his solemn vows on 30 October 1898 at the Hospitaller Order. He was a prior in various Houses from 1905 until his first election as provincial in 1925. He built the great General Hospital of the Order in Regensbourg, later the seat of the province, considered the best hospital in Bavaria. The hospital was opened in 1929, where he has been venerated for many years and invoked in the chapel where his mortal remains are kept.
One of the greatest sufferings was to learn, without being able to prevent so, of the forced relocation of hundreds of patients, amongst them disabled and Jewish patients, from the centres of the Order to "other" institutions, which were nothing other than death camps. After the war, the Order declared that Gestapo had snatched 1,760 mentally or physically handicapped patients from their homes and that they were nowhere to be found after the war.
After the war, in "his" hospital, seized by the American troops, Blessed Eustachius Kluger died surrounded by Brothers and friends on 10 June 1946. Where did he find the strength, confidence and merciful hospitality in the trials he went through? In prayer and adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist and in a lifetime of devotion to Our Lady.
(Summarised text by Aires Gameiro, OH)
- Hospitaller Martyrs
Feast: 25 October.
On 25 October, the Hospitaller Order celebrates the Liturgical Memory of the 95 Brothers who died as martyrs during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. By their martyrdom, our Brothers showed that they had truly encountered Christ and received from Him the grace of martyrdom of blood: in fact, the word "martyr" is derived from the Greek word martyr, which means "witness". A witness is someone who has witnessed an event (having therefore verified with their presence what they narrate or report) and who bears witness to what they have witnessed, not because they have heard someone else tell what they state, or because they have been informed about it, or by personal deduction, but rather speaking from direct experience.
In carrying out their Hospitaller mission, our martyred Brothers have practised hospitality to the sick in that evangelical style that mirrors the gestures of Jesus, who provides care, heals and saves. Their way of living hospitality was entirely marked by the charismatic mission, expressed in actual gestures of mercy and love, in the certainty that every gesture done to one's neighbour is done to Jesus: "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25:40).
The anniversary we celebrate is not only to commemorate their martyrdom, but also to remind us all that living the charism of St. John of God is a highly valuable testimony, not only symbolic, but also human and spiritual, which also implies total selflessness, to the point of giving one's life for Christ and for their brethren.
Provincial Governance and Communities
Ir. Vítor Manuel Lameiras Monteiro
Ir. Alberto Paulo Madureira Mendes, sac.
Ir. Paulo Irineu Corte Gouveia
Ir. José Paulo Simões Pereira
Ir. Luís Vieira da Silva
Ir. Alberto Paulo Madureira Mendes, sac.
Ir. Paulo Irineu Corte Gouveia
Superior: Ir. Alberto Paulo Madureira Mendes
Superior: Ir. Luís Vieira da Silva
ANGRA DO HEROÍSMO
Superior: Ir. Joaquim Ramos
Superior: Ir. António Matos Matias
Superior: Ir. José Paulo Simões Pereira
Superior: Ir. Paulo Irineu Corte de Gouveia
Responsável: Ir. Joaquim Freitas Ribeiro
EAST TIMOR MISSION
Responsável: Ir. José António de Lima
EAST TIMOR MISSION
In response to a request from the Timorese Church, made by the Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau, Basílio do Nascimento, for a presence/intervention in the area of mental health. Hence, an exploratory visit to the field by the superiors of the Portuguese Province took place in November 2002.
Thus, in dialogue with the Bishop of Baucau, two religious members of the Portuguese Province started the East Timor Mission on 08 March 2004.
As of 2006, an Hospitaller Order intervention strategy was created in East Timor, covering four areas of intervention based on a survey of needs: education, training and promotion of human resources in the area of health; maternal and child health; combating tuberculosis and mental health.
On 30 July 2010, the St. John of God Health Centre (CAS-SJD) was opened, with two units: the St. John of Avila House (Multipurpose Administrative and Community Unit) and the St. Benedict Menni House (Acute Mental Health Unit). The St. Richard Pampuri Residence (Acute Tuberculosis Unit) also integrates the Health Centre, which has been in operation since September 2009.
The Centre is supported by buildings for general services, vegetable gardens and livestock farming, a Brothers' Residence (St. John of God House) and a Training House (St. Juan Grande Román House), currently functioning as an Aspirantate.
Ir. José António Lima
Director Of The St. John Of God Health Centre - Laclubar
Ir. José Manuel Leonardo Machado, Sac.
Training Manager Of The Brothers
Ir. José António Lima
Hospitaller Order in Brazil
In 1947, the Portuguese Brothers went to Brazil. At first, they took care of a residence for elderly priests, owned by the Diocese. In 1955, the St. John of God Surgery Clinic was opened. The Brothers no longer managed these works.
Geraldo Corrêa, a benefactor, built the St. John of God Hospital in Divinópolis, which he then donated to the Hospitaller Order. It was opened on 1 June 1968, with 230 beds. This was followed by the St. John of God Home, in Itaipava, a care home for elderly people in need, which officially opened on 8 March 1970. In the late 1980s, the construction of the St. John of God Health Centre to place in Pirituba, which was officially opened on 8 March 1990.
The presence in Brazil was ensured by a Provincial Delegation, dependent on the Portuguese Province until 26 January 2021, when, by Decree of the Superior General, this presence became part of the Province of St. John of God in Latin America and the Caribbean, founded on that date. Today, these works include other 30 social works, which in this vast region, guarantee Hospitality according to the style of the Founder to the people of the south of the American continent.