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Feastday: March 8
Patron of Booksellers

from Wikipedia

John of God Portuguese: São João de Deus) (March 8, 1495 – March 8, 1550) was a Portuguese-born friar and saint, one of Spain's leading religious figures.

John of God was born João Cidade in Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal, into a once-prominent family that was impoverished but had great religious faith. His mother died when he was only a small child, and his father joined a monastic order.

As a young man, John worked as a shepherd for a farmer who was very pleased with his strength and diligent work. John had an offer to marry the farmer's daughter and become heir to the property; he refused because he wanted to pursue a spiritual life in the service of God.

He moved to Spain, where he served as a soldier under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and fought a few battles. After many heroic exploits, he worked disseminating religious books, using the recent moveable type printing press of Johannes Gutenberg to provide people with the Bible.

He experienced a major religious conversion on Sebastian's day (January 20), while listening to a sermon by Saint John of Avila, who was later to become his spiritual mentor and would encourage him in his quest to improve the life of the poor. He then went temporarily into what appeared to be a state of madness and was subsequently thrown into an insane asylum, where he recovered after a visit from John of Ávila and realized that the poor and needy deserved better treatment than he had received. He decided to devote the rest of his life to caring for the sick and the poor.

Settling in Granada, he expended all his energy in caring for the neediest people of the city. Slowly he drew to himself a dedicated circle of disciples who felt called to join him in this service. John organized his followers into the Order of Hospitallers, now better known as the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, who care for the sick in countries around the world. One mark of honour to his labours is that this order has been officially entrusted with the medical and dental care of the pope.

He died on March 8, 1550, his 55th birthday. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VIII on October 16, 1690, and later named the patron saint of hospitals, the sick, nurses, firefighters, alcoholics, and booksellers. John's feast day is commemorated on March 8. A memorial Church, which took his name, was constructed in 1757 in Granada to lodge its Grave, protected by the Knights of Saint John of God.