Franciscan Saints

24th January

The Servant of God John the Gardener

confessor, First Order


John was born of poor parents in Portugal, orphaned early in life, he spent several years begging from door to door. After finding work in Spain as a shepherd, he shared the little he earned with those even needier than himself. Once he heard a sermon on the love of God and thereafter being so strongly stirred by it he was wont to cry out: “O Jesus, my love!”

One day two Franciscans encountered him on a journey, engaging him in conversation, they took a liking to the simple man and invited him to come and work at their friary in Salamanca. He readily accepted and was assigned to the task of assisting the brother with gardening duties. John was both diligent and pious and was shortly received into the Franciscan Order as a lay Brother and lived a life of prayer and meditation, fasting constantly, spending the nights in prayer, and still helping the poor. Because of his work in the garden and the flowers he produced for the altar, he became known as Hortulanus "the gardener."

God favoured John with the gift of prophecy and the ability to read hearts. Important persons, including princes, came to the humble, ever-obedient friar for advice. John loved everything so much that he never wanted to take offence at anything. His advice was that to forgive offences is an act of penance most pleasing to God.

He predicted the day of his own death: January 11, 1501, his last words were; “O Jesus, my love!”



Consider how the charity of brother John laid the foundations for  his sanctity-because he gladly shared with others although he himself was poor and deprived himself on their account. God rewarded him with very rich graces. God regards not so much the greatness of the gift as the greatness of the love with which it is given. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7b). Learn from this how to practise Christian charity, do you stand in need of special graces, then try to obtain them through works of charity.


Prayer of the church

(Number 29 under "Various Prayers")

O, God, who makest all things to be of profit to them that love

Thee, give unto our hearts and abiding love for Thee; that our

desires arising from Thine inspiration waver not through any

temptation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen

 Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed.,  The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois,


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