Though he was born with the name John Grande, today’s saint is generally known today as Blessed John the Sinner.
Born in Spain in 1546, he lost his father when he was fifteen years old and had his own business in the linen trade by the time he was twenty-two. But he soon found that business life didn’t satisfy him.
John gave away his possessions and lived as a hermit. Though he had apparently always lived a moral life, he was deeply repentant over his past weaknesses and moved by God’s greatness; he therefore began calling himself not John Grande, but John the Grand Sinner.
Like many other saints, he found his vocation when he came across two homeless men lying by the side of the road. He brought them to his hut and cared for them. The rest of his life was spent caring for and begging for the sick, prisoners, and orphans. He joined the Order of Hospitallers, an order that was founded by Saint John of God to directly serve those who were sick and in need.
Not everyone appreciated John’s dedication, of course. Some local officials resented him, naturally seeing his compassionate care as a rebuke to their perfunctory care of the needy. It was also noticed that Blessed John would occasionally be swept up in prayer while performing works of mercy; strangers mistook him for a drunk and ridiculed him. But John would simply beg their pardon and continue on his way. He died during an epidemic in the year 1600.
Blessed John, show me how to show compassion to those who are ill.