John De Dieu

John De Dieu (JOHANNES A DEO), saint, founder of the order of charity, was born at Monte-Mor-el-Novo, Portugal, March 8, 1495. An unknown priest stole him from his father, a poor man called Andrea Ciudad, and afterwards abandoned him at Oropesa, in Castile. After roving about many years, he was led to dedicate himself to a religious life by the preaching of John of Avila, whom he heard at Grenada. So excited became he, that, according to Richard and Glraud, he went through the town flogging himself, and never stopped till he went, half dead, to the hospital. He resolved to devote himself to the care of the sick, and changed his family name for de Dieu (a Deo), by permission of the bishop of Tui. In 1540 he opened the first house of his order at Seville, and died March 8, 1550, without leaving any set rules for his disciples. In 1572 pope Pius V subjected them to the rule of St. Augustine, adding a vow to devote themselves to the care of the sick, and sundry other regulations. SEE CHARITY, BROTHERS OF. John de Dieu was canonized by pope Alexander VIII, October 16, 1690. He is commemorated on the 8th of March. See Castro et Girard de Ville-Thierri, Vies de St. Jean de Dieu; Baillet, Vies des Saints, March 8; Heliot, Histoire des Ordres Monastiques, vol. 4, ch. 18; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Générale, 26, 442 sq.

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