8th March 2021
I have been struggling with my energy of late. Personally, I blame the Germans who 80 years ago were pushing back the British forces in North Africa at this time. As I have referred to elsewhere, we seem to be following a repeat of World War 2, only in a different format.
Which may sound mad, put perhaps not as mad as John of God was at times it seems. You can find out about him on Wikipedia. All quotes from the article.
I have not tried to double check other documents as it might not be true and then I wouldn’t be able to have some fun with this. And I could do with some more fun.
He apparently died on March 8, 1550. He was born ‘João Duarte Cidade’, in Portugal, so he was a ‘Port you geezer’ (geezer is slang for man).
One day, when John was eight years of age, he disappeared. Whether he had been deliberately kidnapped, or whether he had been seduced from his home by a cleric who had been given hospitality in the home, is not clear.
Given what goes on in the Roman Catholic Church today I am not surprised.
He was later abandoned and eventually taken in by Francisco Mayoral who must have been a kind man.
The farmer was so pleased with Cidade’s strength and diligence that he wanted him to marry his daughter and to become his heir. When he was about 22 years of age, to escape his master’s well-meant, but persistent, offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage
John refused, presumably because a hand wasn’t much good to him as he had two already. Or more likely as he had some memory of his family’s once prominent position and thought he could do better.
Anyway, he became a soldier and was at one time ‘…appointed to guard an enormous amount of loot, much of which had been rifled by the time he was relieved. Suspicion naturally fell on Cidade; even if he had not been involved in the theft, at the least he was guilty of dereliction of duty. He was condemned to death, and that would have been his fate had not some more tolerant officer intervened to win his pardon.’
It does seem rather odd; if he stole it, surely he might have run away. Or was he just easily distracted and taken advantage of? Or is the whole thing concocted?
Cidade experienced a major religious conversion on Saint Sebastian’s Day (January 20) of 1537, while listening to a sermon by John of Ávila, a leading preacher of the day who was later to become his spiritual director and would encourage him in his quest to improve the life of the poor.
At the age of 42, he had what was perceived at the time as an acute mental breakdown.
Note the age of 42, the ultimate answer to everything, apparently. See link if you are interested. 42 – The Ultimate Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything
Moved by the sermon, he soon engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.
Now, I can see repenting is a good idea for past misdemeanours but public beating is taking things a bit far.
Still better than the treatment which was to be
…. incarcerated in the area of the Royal Hospital reserved for the mentally ill and received the treatment of the day, which was to be segregated, chained, flogged, and starved.
Which was very kind of the hospital. It is marginally better nowadays I believe. They tend not to chain you, flog you or starve you.
However, they do try poisoning you instead with drugs like risperidone though which all too often leaves you constipated in mind and body. Try looking this up and you will see what I mean.
Cidade was visited by John of Avila, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.
John of Avila seems a sensible chap. I can imagine the conversation from an English point of view. ‘ Now look here old chap, the public beating was all very well, but others seem to take a dim view of it and are rather more adept at it than you are. Why not try looking after the poor instead, there’s a good fellow?’
Cidade then apparently had a vision of Mary (I assume the article means Mary who gave birth to Jesus of Nazareth) who encouraged him to work with the poor.
When John began to put into effect his dream, because of the stigma attached to mental illness, he found himself misunderstood and rejected.
Typical. Try to do something kind and people don’t understand. Jesus of Nazareth had the same problem. Mind you he also told them the truth, and there are some people (usually so-called authorities) who don’t like this.
Which is partly why Jesus was flogged and crucified.
To put a stop to his custom of exchanging his cloak with any beggar he chanced to meet, Sebastian Ramirez, Bishop of Tui, had a religious habit made for him, which was later adopted in all its essentials as the religious garb of his followers, and the bishop imposed on him for all time the name given him by the Infant Jesus, John of God.
Presumably the ‘religious habit’ was so uncomfortable that any beggar took one look at it and said in effect ‘No thanks, I’d rather be cold’.
Eventually John of God founded Brothers Hospitallers. As a consequence
One mark of honour to his labours is that this Order has been officially entrusted with the medical care of the pope.
Not sure what the current pope is up to then if the following is correct
Perhaps the Francis is suffering from mental illness.
Anyway, it says later that John was ‘canonized by Pope Alexander VIII.’ I thought this meant fired. But apparently not.
Well, there you are. João Duarte Cidade a.k.a John of God. Rather mad perhaps initially, but if you have been abducted and perhaps abused at 8 years old is one surprised. Takes time and healing to get over that.
For his legacy the article says
The Order maintains a presence in 53 countries, operating more than 300 hospitals, services, and centers serving a range of medical needs in addition to mental health and psychiatry. The Family of Saint John of God, as those who commit to his vision are called, is made up of more than 45,000 members, Brothers and Co-workers, and supported by tens of thousands of benefactors and friends who identify with and support the work of the Order for sick and needy people across the world.
‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’
So Jesus’s true followers still doing that it seems. Perhaps raising the dead as in physical bodies may or may not be true. But as far as I am concerned, trying to wake those dead to what’s going on in the world today is true.
And uncovering the madness and lies going on. I consider the world has gone mad these last 12 months over the ‘flu as I have said elsewhere.
So do ponder over John of God and his experiences.
I reckon some of it must be true.