A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, March 08, 2013

Extreme measures

Raised out in the country, John was put to work when he was still a boy. When he reached manhood, John’s boss pressured him to marry his daughter.

John ran away and joined the army.

After his first tour, the marriage proposal was repeated.

John volunteered for a regiment being deployed to a combat zone.

During the next few decades, John pretty much drifted from job to job and place to place. Finally, he decided to devote his life to God.

He was not afraid to take his devotion to the edge: he was an early adopter of a recent breakthrough in communications technology, using it to spread religious messages.

He also walked through the city streets, beating his breast and crying aloud for God’s mercy.

He subsequently found himself involved with the public Mental Health system until a priest got John to modify his behavior.

John now focused on caring for the sick and the poor. He got other men to join him in establishing hospitals and helping the destitute.

Still, John retained his inclination for the extreme. If he met a beggar in inclement weather, he would give him the coat off his own back. When a hospital caught on fire, John went through the flames again and again until all the patients were safely out. Finally, when he saw a man drowning, he dove in the water and nearly drowned himself.

This last incident broke his health entirely. John died shortly thereafter on his 55th birthday, 463 years ago today. Saint John of God was canonized in 1690 and is a patron saint for hospitals and for the dying.

His followers became known as the Hospitaller Brothers of Saint John of God who continue his mission of caring for the sick and poor throughout the world.

(updated from an earlier post)