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The Holy Family in Prayer

Heroic Patience of Saint John of God

One day, when St. John of God had gone out early in the morning to beg for food, he was crossing the main street Gomelez, which was already full of people, when suddenly he came face to face with a great lord who was heading towards the Alhambra and walking up the street. For in Granada, where the main streets are arched because of the aqueducts, carriages are forbidden. It was impossible for him to get out of the way, pushed as he was by the crowd, and hampered by a large basket that he had on his arm. This basket caught, in spite of him, the coat of the gentleman and snatched it from his shoulder. The proud Spaniard, apostrophizing him in anger: “Imbecile, he said to him, watch where you walk. – I’m sorry, brother, replied the Saint, I didn’t do it on purpose.” He had the habit of speaking thus to everyone. But the gentleman, stung to the core to hear himself treated so familiarly by a miserable stranger, could no longer contain himself and gave him a blow. “Ah! I have deserved it, said John, and you may give me a second blow.” The noble lord, further outraged at receiving no apology, beckoned to the valets whom he had in his suite to rid him of this rude man, and to chastise him with severity. It was at once a scene of blows of cane and punches, which stopped all the passers-by. At hearing the noise, Juan de Torre, an honorable man of the neighborhood, ran up, and seeing what was going on, “Well, Brother John of God, he cried, what is going on?” At the name of the Saint, the gentleman turned around in amazement and dismay; he sprang forward to throw himself at his feet, “Is it you, then, he said, of whom all the world speaks with such praise?”

The Saint raised him up eagerly; at last they hugged, asking each other’ forgiveness, and parted. The gentleman invited him, shortly afterwards, to come and dine at his house; but he could not obtain it, doubtless because the Saint foresaw he would be received there with honor. He replied that the care of the hospital did not allow him the time. But this could not prevent this generous lord from sending him fifty gold crowns.

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