The Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God (Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis de Deo in Latin) is an international Catholic religious order of Brothers founded in Spain.
Its members came to the territory of today´s Slovakia in the second half of the 17th century. Invited by the Archbishop of Esztergom Juraj Szelepcsényi, they came to Bratislava in 1672. 20 years later, their monastery with its church dedicated to the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was constructed and the Brothers could start providing health care services. Their second monastery was founded in Spišské Podhradie in 1672, where they came upon the invitation of Stanislav Heraklius Lubomirski. It is dedicated to Saint John of God. The third monastery – dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity – was founded in Skalica in 1796. The Brothers went there thanks to the initiative of the City Council and a permit issued by Emperor Francis II.
Following the steps of the Founder
In Slovakia, the Brothers of Saint John of God continue the Hospitaller care that their founder promoted in Granada in the 16th century.
Saint John of God revolutionized the approach of taking care of the sick and handicapped people living on the margins of society. In his tradition, the Brothers focus on human dignity that shall remain preserved even at times of disease and poverty because every human being is created in the image of God. The Brothers of Saint John of God serve people regardless of their origin, nationality, religion or social status. The Slovak community of the Brothers of Saint. John of God is part of the Austrian Province, together with their communities in Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Currently, there are 1105 Brothers (the statistical data as at 31 December 2015) in 209 communities on 5 continents and in 53 countries all around the world. The Order runs 455 health, social care and pastoral services and has approximately 65 000 co-workers. The Slovak Province Delegation is based in Bratislava.
According to the preserved archive records dating back to 1695, the activities of the Convent of the Brothers in Bratislava is associated with the name and initiative of Brother Paulus Pigler (Simplex) who carried out charitable activities to maintain the monastery and the hospital in Vienna. He asked Juraj Szelepcsényi, Archbishop of Esztergom, to establish a hospital in Bratislava due to the high number of poor, abandoned and sick people. The archbishop complied with this request. After the construction of a modest hospital with a chapel and a pharmacy in 1672, the Brothers started providing care services.
The Provincial of the Austrian Province of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God, Brother Joachim Mačejovský explains their mission: “In our facilities, we make efforts to act in compliance with the motto of Saint John of God: ‘Do the good and do it properly.’ The Brothers of St. John of God are not active in Skalica nowadays but their devoted service in the past is witnessed by the Skalica hospital and the local cemetery with graves of a number of brothers who served there until 1954. ské Podhradie for decades. The Order would like to come back actively there when it has more professions.
In addition to that, the Order operates the Home of Saint John of God on Hattalova street in Bratislava where it provides poor and homeless people with assistance and support. These activities represent the continuation of the Brothers´ services carried out in the basement premises of the monastery at the beginning of the nineties and later in Podunajské Biskupice. In 2011, they moved on to the Home of Saint John of God on Hattalova street in Bratislava. The Prior of the Bratislava Convent will gladly provide those interested in leading a life as a Hospitaller Brother and in the Order´s mission with more information (e-mail: email@example.com).