St John of God “Witness to Hope”

Prior GeneralMy dear Brothers, Co-workers and family members of the Hospital of St. John of God 


On this day, we celebrate the feast of St. John of God, I want to send you my best wishes, preparing to live with joy the memory of our Holy Founder, whose spirit lives on in the Church and in the world through this our Family .

John of God lived in the sixteenth century, it was not a theologian nor a priest, let alone occupied prominent places in society, in political or ecclesiastical, but it was certainly one of the great figures who contributed to the renewal of the Catholic Church. As never before, he showed the love and mercy of God for the poor, the sick and the needy, to zero completely to serve. His life was an exact reflection of the work of the Good Samaritan, our world still has so much need. The message, the spirit and the will he has left us are the witness of a life devoted to others, and a person must not only remember and admire, but that we should try to imitate and follow.

Witness hospitality

And 'quite normal for a person of this kind has left us many things written, because she would not have had the time. However, the few things he has written, or dictated - a total of six letters - are a compendium of profound theology, spirituality, pastoral and health and social care. I'm a manual of Hospitality, confirmed by his own life, consecrated to the plan that God had for him, and serving people in need with which it came into contact, for which we could say that he came to the last drop of their blood.

"Seeing so many poor suffer my brothers and my neighbor, who are in such great need for both the body and the soul, not potendoli help, I am very sad ..." (2GL 8). This phrase, taken from one of his letters, shows us how to perceive the suffering of the people, suffering himself in his heart. His letters and his first biographer, Francisco de Castro, show many references and details on hospitality practiced by St. John of God: " It occupied all day in various works of charity, and in the evening, when he came home, for how tired he was, did not withdraw without having ever visited all the sick, one by one, and asked them what had happened the day, as they were and what they needed, and very loving words comforted them spiritually and bodily . "(Castro, chap. XIV).

Celebrate the memory of our founder, at this time we are living in, is above all a call to all his followers to be like him, and that of witnesses hospitality. We have to be following his style, through the service and dedication of every day, becoming in turn the Good Samaritans. He has not left us strategies or programs to follow, but simply an example of having lived and served others for love of God and the Church is the world expect from us, from each of us that we are part of the Family of St. John of God, to continue to be witnesses of Hospitality . It 'a mission imperative in which we must commit ourselves and where we are all called to do something, even though it may seem trivial. This is the foundation for the pastoral care of vocations hospital real and credible.

Witness to Hope

The difficulties are part of life, and we know how well they were present in that of St. John of God, in particular to carry out its mission. The need for which it was confronted were many, but the means and resources were scarce. However, he did not lose heart, and this situation was not an obstacle to realize its hospitality project. The trust and hope in Jesus Christ kept him still standing in the mission, and managed to find ways and means to carry it well beyond what was humanly possible .

"I have a lot to do ... and every day more and more increasing debts and poor ... I started with this I am in much need ... but Jesus Christ shall all, because I do nothing" (1DS 14; 2 DS 2-22 ). In Jesus Christ he found the strength to live with hope, despite many difficulties. A hope that is not based on liability but on faith, service and constant work, looking for resources with humility and creativity. He found many benefactors and people of good will who helped him to support a project that grew by the day, not to mention, as he says in his letters, that the situation made ??him suffer and feel distressed (2GL 3) and sometimes troubled him (2DS 2).

What he lived was repeated frequently throughout the history of our Order and continues to be so in many parts of the world, especially in this period, marked by the global economic crisis that is having consequences for many of our works.

The experience of St. John of God should illuminate, and above all it must be for us an invitation to hope despite the difficulties, trusting fully in the Spirit of the Lord, who initiated and continues to support the project of hospitality Order. Hope does not deliver us out of trouble, and perhaps it may be that we can not keep all the services and programs we have put in place, and that a lack of resources. The hope, however, encourages us to experience the hospitality with more passion, to work harder for this treasure which has been entrusted with even more dedication to serve the sick and who are in need, to seek with creativity, intelligence transparency and the necessary means and methods most appropriate for the management, to strengthen the common to the whole of the Family of St. John of God, and to make use of the quality and potential of those who belong to it. In this way, the hope and trust in Jesus Christ will give good results.


We are starting the new six-year period, we have already sent to the Provinces the full text of the statements General Chapter of 2012 , as well as programming the most important events that have been published on the website of the Order. We will begin immediately to develop this program, specifically with the launch of some committees and with the realization of canonical visitations that will begin after the feast of our Founder and for which we have chosen as the title " Living hospitality with hope and courage " .

At the end of January, along with the Brothers of the General Definitory we spent a few days in Granada, entrusting our work for the next six years and our institution to the protection of St John of God

I renew my best wishes to all of you: Brothers, Partners, Volunteers, Benefactors, sick and assisted people in our centers. I wish you a good preparation for the feast and a joyous celebration. That his spirit help us to grow in hospitality, and to trust in him with full hope in our mission of service to the sick, the poor and those in need.

I greet you fraternally united in the Lord and Saint John of God


Among Jesús Etayo

Prior General





| More

St John of God Brothers
St. Mary’s
Co. Louth
Tel: 00353 41 686 2607

© 2012 St John of God Brothers
Web Design: Colum Keating