Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, Korean Province

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When we contemplate the life of Saints who lit themselves for God passionately, we can find that they usually experienced "one special moment" strongly at the presence of God. At the moment of conversion, it leads the person to dedicate himself or herself totally following the inevitable calling from God. Once the person face this moment, he or she become changed totally and discarded the previous way of life and were not afraid of misunderstanding from other people. This blessed moment arrives at different time in each person and it is done by the Providence of God. St. John of God (1495-1550), the Saint of the sick and the carers, and the founder of "St. John of God Hospitaller Order" could realize the presence of God at the age of 45, quiet late time in his life. Since then, for 10 years, until he died, he returned all the love he received from God for other people.

In 1495, John was born in Portugal and then he left the house when he was 8 years old. Since then, he drifted all through his life, working as a shepard, a soldier, a labourer, and a book seller. At the age of 45, on St. Sebastian Feast Day, he experienced dramatic conversion moment after attending at the sermon of Fr. John de Avila. He ran out of the church, crying and blaming himself loudly. People considered him as a mad man and they brought him to the Royal Mental Hospital. However, at the Hospital, at the terrible & locked environment, he was chained, striped off, beaten, and whipped. Through these experiences he could be aware of what he should do in the future clearly.

John, after discharged from the hospital, began to prepare the house of charity for the poor, the disabled, the sick, the homeless, the orphan, etc. John, a middle age man who had no money and received no education for caring the sick, asked several people for help so that the poor people could live as a human being. He should go out for begging everyday. When there was a fire at the Royal Hospital, John immediately ran to the Royal Hospital and he saved several patients. After a while, he jumped into the river to save a child drowned in winter time. He got illness after this occasion and he died in 1550.

"Caring for the (neighbour's) body as a means of caring for the soul"

It means searching goodness of soul by caring the body. St. John of God used to say this words. Its origin is the life of Jesus Christ who took the flesh of human being and became one of the poor people in the earthly living because of His love for human being. John left short teaching that "Recall our Lord frequently and keep the passion of Him in mind. Do your best in order to serve the poor people. Prepare your mind that you give your flesh for them." The short teaching became the companion of the prisoned and the discarded and it contained the mind of John that he could sacrifice himself for the sick and the isolated following Jesus Chirst who was the healer of the sick.