“We are all aiming at the same goals, yet each one by the road God has been pleased to mark out for him. It is therefore right that we help one another.”
St. John of God.
On Thursday, March 8, St. Mary’s Home welcomed two young professed Little Sisters of the Poor. Sister Maria Catherine from the Diocese of Kansas City and Sister Dara Catherine from the Archdiocese of Denver stopped en route to St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine to await their French visas. These young women having made their first vows will then travel to France to learn the language and continue their religious formation for three more years. Their brief visit coincided with the Feast Day of St. John of God.
St. John of God, patron saint of hospitals, is founder of Order of Hospitallers or Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God. Although he died more than 200 years before St. Jeanne Jugan was born, his spirituality and ministry strongly influenced her and her congregation.
He began his mission on the streets of Spain when during a particularly difficult time in his life he was advised to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in focusing on his personal hardships. This metanoia gave John a great sense of peace and inspired him to care for the needy poor in his city. He bought a house to take in the sick poor and went out and begged for whatever they needed. Inspired by his zeal, the local community supported his work with money and provisions. His life attracted helpers who 20 years after his death formed a worldwide religious order.
The members of his order take a fourth vow of hospitality. This promise is shared with the Little Sisters of the Poor. Celebrating the vow of hospitality is very dear to the Little Sisters that they marked the day by making homemade milkshakes and scrumptious cranberry oatmeal cookies – yes tasting as good as it sounds – personally delivered to each Resident! Our visitors not wanting to miss the fun, joined in.
There are many parallels between these great saints. Both showed a unique compassion for the infirmed and elderly. St. John of God invited the people around his city to support his work as did St. Jeanne Jugan. Both relied on the goodness of others to help them fulfill their vocations. And they inspire young people today to continue their work to generously give of themselves in service to others.
Saint John of God help us to act out of love as soon as we feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Help us learn to fight the little voices in our heads and hearts that give us all sorts of practical reasons to wait or delay in our service of God. Amen