John of God
John of God, born in Portugal in 1495, worked as a shepherd and mercenary soldier before he had experienced conversion when he was forty. John decided to try to ransom Christian slaves held by Moors by giving himself in another's place. A Franciscan priest convinced him to find a more practical way to serve God.
John began to sell religious books and holy pictures. In Granada he heard a sermon by John of Avila, and was overcome by the thought of his sins; because of his erratic behavior in response to this awakening, he was taken to a lunatic hospital. The prescribed treatment of daily beatings made sense to his need to atone for past wrongdoings, but John of Avila visited him and said he had done enough penance.
John of God worked as a nurse in the hospital until he left to rent a house and care for homeless sick persons. He and the others who joined him begged for funds to support their ministry, forming the Brothers Hospitallers' Order. John received numerous visions.
After saving a drowning man from a flood, John of God became ill and died on his fifty-fifth birthday on March 8, 1550.