Saint John of God's Story

In 1539, John Ciudad (later known as Saint John of God), was a little-known bookseller in the city of Granada, Spain. He was struggling to put his life back together again after spending a period as a patient in the psychiatric wing of the Royal Hospital. st-john
He was homeless and disillusioned, yet he felt a strong attraction to improve the situation of the many men, women and children, who, like himself, were homeless and marginalised from the mainstream of society. bookshop
John's bookshop
The Porchway
John was fortunate that he had friends who respected him. One of these friends, Don Miguel Venegas, allowed John to shelter in the porch of his house from the bitter cold of winter nights.

Sensitive to the suffering and pain of the many homeless people and travellers who sought shelter in doorways or wherever they could find it, John began to bring those who were sick and weak and those unable to cope, to share his accommodation in the porch of the house of his friend, Venegas. This was the stark and simple, yet profoundly beautiful beginning of the work which today still bears John's name.

John, huddling with his cold, hungry and weary companions in one corner of the porch of Venegas' house had no idea of the movement he was founding. Saint John of God Hospitaller Services has continued to strive to carry this love, care and compassion to people down through the centuries.

johns1sthospitalJohn's first hospital

Hospitality is the name given to the great gift of care, welcome and compassion which John gave to the poor, the homeless, the sick and the dying and many others in the city of Granada over 470 years ago.

After his death in 1550, a group of his closest companions continued the work he had begun.

Additional information