Pope Francis and the Brothers of St. John of God

Pope Francis and the Brothers of St John of God

The Holy Father, Francis, is essentially, a ‘beggar’. Everyone who has ever met him – whether cardinal, bishop, priest, Brother, Sister or Lay – have always received a parting request, ‘Please pray for me because I am in great need of your prayers’.

On the one hand, there is this aspect making him a beggar of prayers, because he knows that it is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that he can carry forward his task as a Pastor.

On the other hand, from the point of view of the embodiment of a Pastor for the modern age, from the very beginning of his Episcopal ministry in Buenos Aires, the Pope’s priority was his priests. All his efforts and devotion were directed at his pastors, to those who had to be a hand held out to others.

He gave a small demonstration of this care for his priests in our own Order: at the Hospital of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Luján and the San Juan de Dios Hospital which he visited many times to see the priests who were inpatients there, telling us that no-one should know about his presence there. And then he requested the personal accompaniment of the religious and priests, who could not cope with situations of risk and loneliness alone.

With regard to his concern for the poorest of the poor, particularly for those living in the slums and shanty towns, called ‘Villas Miseria’, and for the sick: by celebrating Maundy Thursday and washing the feet of the patients in a State Mental Hospital, and in a maternity hospital for mothers waiting to go into labour etc; and for trafficked people and prostitutes he simply revealed a heart full of mercy (his Episcopal motto is ‘He looked on him with mercy and chose him’).

But it is above all this merciful heart that led him to wish to teach his priests (his priority) day by day, showing them through his own actions how they had to approach the ministry of Jesus, in the here and now in the complex city of Buenos Aires, fraught with so much injustice.

We have a Pope who is a beggar of prayers, in order to be able to carry forward his Ministry of Mercy with a heart like Jesus’ heart, showing preferential love for the poorest, and among them, for those who are sick.


Bro. Luis Alberto Mojica Paz

Superior of the Province of Southern Latin America


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