ST. JOHN OF GOD MADE EVERYONE FEEL LIKE SOMEONE
Companions Walk Humbly with St. John of God
ST. JOHN GRANDE
St John Grande was born at Carmona (Seville‐Spain) in 1546. At the age of 19, he changed name to “Giovanni Peccatore” (“John the Sinner”) and settled at Jerez de la Frontera where he consecrated himself to God, devoting his life to caring for prisoners, recovering prostitutes, and serving the poor and the incurably ill.
He joined the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God in 1574 and welcomed in new followers with whom he opened other Care Centres. A man of extraordinary compassion, like the Good Samaritan, he always nurtured his Hospitaller spirituality with a deep spiritual life, in a spirit of sacrifice and a spirit of prayer: he was a mystic of hospitality.
Acting on the instructions of the Archbishop of Seville, he completed the reform of health care in Jerez and in neighbouring towns and cities, giving preference to serving the poorest people.
He died in 1600, the victim of his love for the victims of the plague. He was beatified by Pius IX on November 3, 1853, and canonised by John Paul II on June 2, 1996. As the Patron Saint of the Diocese of Jerez de la Frontera, his Relics are venerated in that city in the Chapel of the St John of God Brothers’ Hospital dedicated to him, which has been elevated to the rank of the “Diocesan Shrine of Saint John Grande”
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Let us pray:
O God, who wonderfully impressed the charism of compassion for prisoners, the poor and the sick on the heart of Saint John Grande, grant that through his intercession we may also yearn to practice love in all things, to be acknowledged as true Disciples of Christ. Amen.
ST. BENEDICT MENNI
St Benedict Menni was a man who always moved forward with a sense of purpose and direction. As a young Brothers of St. John of God who had just been ordained to the priesthood, he was given the assignment to restore the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in Spain. The Spanish branch of the Hospitaller Order died away because of some Masonic laws issued in Portugal in 1834 and in Spain in 1835. Saint Benedict Menni was sent to Barcelona on April 6, 1867, to restore the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God.
After a long struggle, oftentimes risky, he was not only able to gather many vocations – almost a thousand from 1867 to 1903 – but also founded in Spain, Portugal and Mexico, 22 hospitals for every kind of sickness, especially for mental patients and handicapped children. Those conditions were the most neglected by the public health care at that time.
He also founded a female branch of the Order, the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today, the Sisters are present in 20 Countries with almost 80 communities. The motherhouse of the Sisters is in Ciempozuelos, Spain where the body of their founder is venerated. He was declared Blessed in 1985 and his Canonization was celebrated in November 1999. His feast day is April 24, the day he died in Dinan, France in 1914.
What is amazing in the life work of Saint Menni is the number and complexity of the undertakings he faced; including persecution and calumny, but, even more so is their validity, tested for more than a century. The secret lies in his true, heroic detachment by which he always considered himself a docile instrument in the hands of God, without giving room to his personal ambitions or human plans. He used to instruct the Sisters that he founded “to work, pray and suffer hardship in silence offering up to God one’s experience as a way to holiness.
O God, you gave Saint Benedict Menni the grace to
Follow a path of struggle and persecution in the
Spirit of hospitality, enabling him to work tirelessly
for those in need and suffering. Grant that by his
Intercession on our behalf we may faithfully continue the
healing mission of Jesus as followers of St. John of God.
Give us this same fortitude in time of trial to be ministers
of hospitality in mind, body and spirit to those in need.
ST. RICHARD PAMPURI
Richard Pampuri was born at Trivolzio, a small city in the north of Italy in 1897; he graduated from his medical course in 1921. He worked as a rural health officer assigned in a poor area near Milan. Even now, the inhabitants of that area still remember him for his charity.
Wishing to dedicate himself to the sick in a more complete and total way, he entered the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in 1927. The Formation House was inside the general hospital sponsored by the Brothers in Brescia. There he made his religious profession on October 24, 1928.
The Superior entrusted to him the free dental clinic for the poor. Many people flocked to the clinic of Brother Richard Pampuri not only because of his Kindness and because of gentleness in treating the patients.
Unfortunately, he started to have some health problems in the beginning of 1929. He had tuberculosis, an incurable sickness at that time. His health continued to fail until he had to be confined in the hospital of the Brothers in Milan on April 18, 1930. There he died in the evening on May 1, the date of his liturgical feast since he was proclaimed blessed in 1981.
His body was brought to Trivolzio, his birthplace, where it is venerated in the same parish church he was baptized. Pope John Paul II declared him Saint in 1989. The Pope said. “The short but rich life of Richard Pampuri urges the medical doctors, his colleagues, to carry out delicate professional with commitment, to animate it with Christian, human and professional ideals, so that it will become a true mission of social services, of fraternal charity, of true human growth”.
The life of St. Richard Pampuri was so short that truly there was no time or opportunity to perform great undertakings. Nonetheless, his life was meaningful because he held on to a principle that he formulated during his preparation for the Religious Profession. He upheld that: “To do the least of things with great love.” It was precisely his daily adherence to this principle that led him on a path to holiness transforming his medical activities into a true mission of charity.
God our Father we pray for the breath of vision of Saint Richard Pampuri, whose own illness made him so sensitive to the sick, caring for them so lovingly as a Brother of St. John of God.
Through his intersession may we receive the strength to trust and love others, even in the midst of our own illnesses and difficulties. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
BLESSED JOSÉ OLALLO VALDÉS, O.H.
you gave our Brother,
Blessed Josė Olallo Valdės,
the gift of Hospitality
for the people of Cuba
at a time when he alone
was the Hospitaller presence
in the Americas.
Through his faithfulness
he became a model of holiness and
a confirmation that the radical practice
of the spirituality of mercy and hospitality
is a path to holiness.
Grant us this same faithfulness
to the Spirit of Hospitality as we continue
the healing mission of Jesus, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, One God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
BLESSED EUSTACE KUGLER
He was born on 15 January 1867 at Neuhaus, in the diocese of Ratisborn, and made his vows in the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God on 21 October 1895. A religious with a profound interior life, he served for 20 years as the Local Superior, and from 1925 until his death on 10 June 1946 as Provincial of the Bavarian Province. He greatly cherished his Hospitaller vocation, following the example of the compassionate and merciful Christ.
He patiently endured gruelling interrogations by the Gestapo under the Third Reich with edifying peace of mind, just as he bore the physical sufferings caused by his stomach ailment. His mortal remains rest in Ratisbon, in the Hospital Chapel dedicated to St Pius V, which he had built.
Benedict XVI proclaimed him Blessed, and his beatification was celebrated in Ratisbonne on October 4, 2009.
O God, the strength of those who trust in you, who gave Blessed Eustace the singular grace to live in humility with his brethren and to serve the sick with charity, grant us, through his intercession, the strength to put our trust wholeheartedly in you and, with unfailing charity, to serve the suffering and the needy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen
VENERABLE FRANCISCO CAMACHO
Brother Francisco Camacho belonged to the John of God community in Lima. He was so outstanding in virtue and charity that his cause for beatification was introduced at Rome.1 In many ways his life-story paralleled the Founder of the Hospitaller Order. Francisco Camacho was born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain on 3 October 1629. His parents, Lázaro Rodrígues Camacho and Maria de Vivas, were poor peasants. He started life as a rural worker, then joined the army under the command of Prince de Condé. He fought against the French on the Spanish Northeast Frontier where he survived several battles, including the 1644 siege of Lèrida. Francisco left the army in 1647 and for a while there is a gap in the chronicles. He next turns up as a prisoner awaiting execution at Cádiz. Just as he was about to mount the scaffold he received a reprieve. It is strange that the chronicles give no more information about this dramatic episode which almost put an end to his life. All they tell us is that it was due to the intercession of two priests.
Francisco held the rank of sergeant in the crew aboard a galleon sailing for the New World.2 He fell seriously ill aboard ship and when the galleon berthed at Cartegena they took him to the Order's San Sebastián Hospital. Regaining his health he left the hospital and journeyed to Peru where he managed a hacienda near Lima. Tiring of this work, Camacho began traveling about restlessly from place to place, until a certain incident precipitated his conversion and completely changed his life. He was staying in Lima at a tavern, when he overheard the Jesuit , Francisco del Castillo preaching below his window in the Plaza Baratillo. Moved by the words of the sermon, Francisco approached Padre del Castillo who invited him to visit him at the Jesuit novitiate house where he was staying. The next step in his conversion was when Padre Alejo Ortiz led him in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius de Loyola.
Francisco felt a vocation to the religious life of the John of God Brothers who restored him o health at Cartegena. He went to Brother Juan de Ferriol, then General Commissioner for Tierra Firme, and applied to enter the Hospitaller Order. The Commissioner accepted him and he commenced his novitiate at Lima in October 1663. He found this rigorous year as a novice was not easy going for a man of 34 years of age who had lived most of those years as an adventurer.
Brother Francisco Camacho made his religious profession of vows on 4 October 1664. His life as a Juandediano was exemplary and his mission of hospitality heroic. He spent his entire religious life at the San Diego Hospital, Lima, where he died on 23 December 1698 at the age of 69 years.3
1 Francisco Camacho's cause for beatification was introduced at Rome in 1728 at the time when Br. Juan de la Concepción Garay was Vicar General of the Spanish Congregation. The Sanctity Process was introduced at Lima in December 1699, but it took 19 years before it was complete.
2 Cf. Camila PeñaVargas, The Beggar from Lima, Australian Provincial Publications, #19, 1988. This author says a lieutenant, although Santos states sergeant. Cf. Santos, Vol. II. 472513.
3 Cf. Santos, Vol. II. 472513.
SERVANT OF GOD WILLIAM GAGNON
Born and baptized May 16, 1905 at Dover, New Hampshire, U.S.A. of French Canadian parents, living both in New England and Quebec, Canada.
He was called from his youth to take care of others. He discovered the fulfillment of this call when he entered the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God. He took vows on 20 November 1932 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His dedication to those who were sick and suffering energized his life quest.
After having occupied various functions, his dream of being a missionary became a reality when he arrived with two other Canadian Brothers at the Bui-Chu Mission, in the North of Vietnam, January 18, 1952.
During 17 years, his apostolic action concentrated on the implementation of the Order in Vietnam and ministering to thousands of refu gees. Hospitality as a way of being and acting toward those in need was empowered by a deep sense of reverence for life and a devotional life of prayer. He was enlived daily by his devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Exhausted after having given of himself totally, Brother William Gagnon died in Saigon, Vietnam on February 28, 1972.
Prayer of Intercession:
Lord, Jesus, Your mercy inspired the Servant
of God William Gagnon to live hospitality
with the ill, the refugees and the poor.
Grant that we may always minister to all
suffering people with Charity, as did this
Son of St. John of God.
Lord, hear the prayer that we address to
you (personal intention) by the intercession
of the Servant of God William Gagnon,
in order that we may be affirmed
in our faith and that Your glory and the
joy of the Church be proclaimed.
Our Father, Hail Mary,
Glory be to the Father.
Glory be to the Father.
MARTYRS OF HOSPITALITY
While Brother Richard Pampuri attained holiness through the ordinary activities of life, a good number of Brother of St. John of God had to face the ordeals of martyrdom before attaining the glory of Heaven.
In the golden annals of the Order are listed martyrs in Belgium, Poland, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, Philippines and specially in Spain where during the Civil War of 1936, ninety-eight Brothers were killed due to hatred towards their faith.
The process of beatification was successfully terminated for a group of seventy-one Brothers whose martyrdom happened in Spain.
Pope John Paul II set October 25, 1992 as the date for their solemn beatification in the Vatican.
Among those seventy-one Blessed, there are seven young natives of Colombia who after their Profession had been sent to Spain to complete their formation. In the history of the church, they are the first from their country to be venerated in church.
On October 13, 2013, the Church proclaimed twenty-four Martyr Brothers of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God as Blessed. They were martyred for upholding their vow of commitment to hospitality and faith, while not abandoning the hospital and patients they cared for. Their faith was evidence of a love in action, which the consequences were their execution. The youngest Brother was 24 years old and the eldest was 67. Blessed Maurizio Iñiguez de Heredia and his 23 companion martyrs who were beatified in Tarragona (Spain) on October 13, 2013.
These 95 Brothers of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God, of different nationalities, performed their apostolate in various places in Spain and were martyred on different dates in the two-year period 1936-1937.
PROCESS OF CANONIZATION FOR BR. FORTUNATUS THANHAUSER
The Kerala Synod of Bishops, meeting last week, resolved to begin the process for the canonisation of our Confrère, Brother Fortunatus Thanhäuser. The date will shortly be set for the celebrations to mark the official opening of the diocesan enquiry. The General Postulation will keep the whole Order fully briefed on developments.
He was the Vice-Provincial of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in Frankfurt, Germany, when he was invited to Kattappana, Kerala, in 1969 by Archbishop Mar Mathew Kavukatt of Changanachery. His mission was to provide healthcare to the high ranges which, at that time, was considered one of the most backward regions in Kerala.
Brother Fortunatus was born in Berlin, the capital of Germany, on 27 February 1918. On 27 May of 1935 he joined the Silesian Province of the Brothers of St. John of God in Breslau (then Germany, now Poland) and made his first Profession in Breslau on 21 November 1936. He celebrated his Solemn Profession on 21 July 1946, in Breslau, which had come under Polish rule after Second World War.
Since in 1950 all Germans in Silesia had been deported to Germany, he came to Frankfurt and built up a ruin into a modern General Hospital and served in Frankfurt as a Hospitaller Brother, trained Male Nurse and trained X-Ray and Lab-Technician from 1950 till 1969 when he came to Kattappana, India.
He worked day-in and day-out for the betterment and development of the people of the high ranges in Idukki, Kerala. He started St. John’s Hospital, built more than five thousand houses for the poor families, built a home for elderly, poor and abandoned people, known as Pratheeksha Bhavan, founded a new congregation of Sisters (known as the Sisters of Charity of St. John of God) to look after the poor, sick and needy, supported many poor students for studies, provided food, clothing, medicines and financial support for many poor people etc.
His sanctity, humility and simplicity are well known to all. Towards the end of his life journey he was hospitalized for more than a year and had to suffer a lot. But he accepted all in patience and love. Our Heavenly Father called him back into his arms on 21 November 2005. The funeral functions took place on 26 an