When he was forty, a sermon he heard made him feel very sorry for the life he had been living. He promised to make up for it. He sold the little that he had and gave the money to the poor. Then he began a new life. Day and night he prayed and did hard penances. His great charity led him to give himself as a servant to a poor family sent into exile.
When he was forty-five, John got a house where he could care for the sick who were too poor to go to a hospital. He founded a religious order for the care of the poor. The members are called Brothers of St. John of God.
One night, St. John fond a poor man on the street who seemed half-dead. He carried him to his hospital. There he put him to bed and began to bathe him, as was his custom. But when he reached his feet, how surprised he was to see that the man’s feet seemed to be pierced like Our Lord’s. John looked up and saw that the poor man was really Jesus Himself! “John, said Our Lord, “everything you do for the poor in my name you do for Me.” Then Jesus disappeared and St. John was left with a great joy in his heart.
After ten years of hard work in his hospital, St. John became sick himself. He died on his knees in front of the altar.
St. John of God turned from his bad way of living to lead a holy life because of one sermon he heard and thought much about. We, too, could become better if we thought more about the good things we read.