Saint John of God
ca. 1700
15.5" x 12.25"
Framed: 25" x 21.5"
Painting, Oil on Canvas
Region: Bolivia
Saint John was born in Portugal, the child of devout Catholic parents. At age eight, after hearing a priest touring through the area deliver a homily, John left his parents in the middle of the night, following the priest, and becoming his servant. They lived an austere live, begging, and surviving on the kindness of strangers, until the lifestyle left John sick and weak. The priest left John in the care of a wealthy family with a large estate, and John eventually became the herder for their animals. He worked at this post for nearly 20 years, until the age of 27.

During this time, seeking clarification of his vocation, John traveled to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where he received a vision of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Our Lady, and Saint John while praying before a crucifix. The Blessed Virgin presented him with a crown of thorns, and pressed it hard upon his head. "John," the Holy Mother said, "it is by thorns and sufferings that you must win the crown my Son has waiting for you in heaven." Although Saint John could feel the thorns piercing his brain, he replied, "From your hand, Lady, thorns and sufferings are welcome. They are my flowers and my roses."