San Juan de Dios Caring for the Indigenous Ill
Saint John of God (Juan de Dios) was a Portuguese-born soldier turned health-care worker at 42 following a nervous breakdown. The order he formed in Spain, the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, continues today dedicated to the care of the poor sick and those suffering from mental disorders. His Order is also entrusted with the medical care of the Pope. He is one of Spain’s leading religious figures whose name is associated worldwide with healthcare and he is the patron of hospitals, the sick and nurses.
The name San Juan de Dios is featured predominantly in San Miguel de Allende. Located about six blocks from the Jardin, the Mercado de San Juan de Dios is the newest of the covered markets, built in 1992. It sits alongside the Temple to St. John of God. Behind the temple is the St. John of God cemetery for the Spanish. Beyond it was the hospital for the indigenous that now serves as an elementary school. The indigenous cemetery next to the hospital is now home to government offices providing social services.
In art the image of St. John of God normally features a priest caring for the sick, often with the assistance of an angel.