As an adult convert to Catholicism, I had the good fortune of being able to chose my patron saint without the burden of being an angsty teen. But I still found the whole process overwhelming. How do you choose one amongst thousands? After combing through several volumes of saints, I felt drawn to Saint John of God. I thought his name was pretty epic. And I happened to love a story about him saving people from a burning building. Not kidding, I had recently saved a bedridden old man from a burning building. And then the building exploded. Anyway. Connection? Aside from that superficial reason, I just felt drawn to him.
After conversion, I ended up working at a mental health hospital. The fact that John of God is the patron saint of the mentally ill seemed like anything but coincidence. I asked his intercession quite often then. But, now that I don’t work with the mentally ill anymore, his patronage doesn’t always seem quite so practical. However, in contemplating the life of this great saint, I see in him as a vital example of how the Gospel must be lived a society that is nominally Christian but ultimately hostile to a true, self-sacrfifical faith.