About Us



About Us The Brothers of St John of God is a Catholic Order of Brothers who established and run psychiatric hospitals, residential schools and other care facilities and programmes for intellectually disabled and at risk people in numerous countries across the globe.

The Order began in Spain in the mid-16th century when followers inspired by John of God himself, who died in 1550, expanded his early work with the construction and operation of three hospitals in Granada.

The first St John of God Brothers arrived in Australia immediately after the second world war, and their initial project was a residential school for boys with learning difficulties at Morriset, New South Wales.

Within only a few years, the Order was invited to set up similar schools in Victoria and in New Zealand.

In 1953, a residential school was established at Cheltenham, a southern suburb of Melbourne, moving fourteen years later to new, modern premises in the northern suburbs, at Greensborough.

In addition, in the late 1950s, a post-school rural residential centre was set up on a farm the Order purchased at Lilydale in Melbourne's far-eastern countryside for adult men with learning and other disabilities thought likely to benefit from sheltered work of a farming and gardening nature.

Meanwhile, in 1955, the Order also established a large residential school at Christchurch, New Zealand.

Richmond HospitalIt was in the 1950s also that two St John of God psychiatric hospitals were developed in NSW, one at Richmond, the other at Burwood in suburban Sydney.Burwood Hospital

These hospitals subsequently provided the bases for various daycare and outreach programmes, including a project for people who found themselves homeless as a result of their psychiatric illness.

In 1970, the Order opened the first St John of God Hospital in New Zealand, also at Christchurch.

In 1972, the Order moved into Papua New Guinea, initially operating the Chesire Home at Port Moresby for children with physical and learning disabilities and later, with the first intake of PNG nationals into the Order, running a rural health service and an Addictions Centre at Wewak.

Beginning in the 1980s, respective state and national governments began to assume the roles and responsibilities of providing education and resources for intellectually and physically disabled children and adults. Consequently, the Order withdrew from residential schools, retaining active involvement in a range of programmes both hospital- and community-based until well into the new Century.

In 2007, with the aging and diminishment of religious Orders and Institutes, the Brothers of St John of God transferred their psychiatric hospitals, other facilities and their many services into a corporate entity, St John of God Australia Ltd.

St John of God in SpainThe company, which had been operating as St John of God (Catholic) Health Care across Australia for many years, grew through the merger into a group of 14 hospitals, a community hospice, a pathology service and a wide range of outreach programmes.

Thus, after sixty years of establishing and broadening numerous, targeted health and community services in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, the Order's remaining Brothers fulfil a number of active roles either through St John of God Health Care or through various other religious institutes, while many now live in retirement.

The Provincial of the Order, assisted by lay staff, manages and co-ordinates the remaining activities and services in Oceania.

A significant role for the past several years has been the outreach to and the compassionate management of cases of sexual or physical abuse of an historical nature, which have only surfaced or been identified in recent years.

The Provincial personally remains firmly committed to this task for as long as it takes.

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Our charism of Hospitality within the Church is a gift of the Spirit, which leads us to the compassionate and merciful Jesus of the Gospel, who went about doing good to all "and healing every kind of disease and infirmity".

In virtue of this gift, we live our lives by the action of the Holy Spirit who makes us participate in a special way in God's merciful love. This experience challenges us as brothers to attitudes of loving kindness and self-giving, enables us to carry out the mission of proclaiming and bringing about God's Presence among those who are suffering. Through the Charism of Hospitality our loves are opened up to be transformed and through this transformation we are drawn to be with those people on the 'edges of our society'.

Through this charism we keep the merciful presence of Jesus of Nazareth alive within time: accepting the will of God, by his incarnation he makes himself the brother of all people and is at the service of all in relationship.

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Recognizing the gift of Hospitality that we have received, we vow ourselves to God and dedicate ourselves to serving the Church in the assistance of those who suffer and are in need. Through all our living of our lives as brothers we endeavor to show that the compassionate and merciful Jesus of the Gospel is still alive and moving among people.

When God called us to be Hospitaller Brothers of Saint John of God we were invited to form a community of apostolic life, and so it is our desire to live in community with other brothers.

We feel that we are brothers of all people and we dedicate ourselves chiefly to the service of the emarginated and those in need. Their sufferings and needs touch our hearts, and lead us to alleviate those needs and sufferings and to work for the personal development and advancement of such people.

As living members of the Church, we endeavor to manifest God's love and we wish to attain love for God, our brothers and sisters. We vow ourselves to the public Religious Profession of chastity, poverty, obedience and hospitality, fidelity to the spirit of the Rule of Saint Augustine, and observance of the Constitutions of our Religious Order.

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Asia Pacific

The History of the Order in the Asia Pacific Region

Earlier Centuries

Some St. John of God Brothers came to the Asia Pacific region during Spain and Portugal’s exploration of this part of the world in the 16th and 17th centuries. At that time some Brothers came to China. We do not know exactly when they came to China but we know where they went. The Order once had four provisional hospitals in the (China) coastal towns of Swatow, Lien-Kiang and Shanghai that were given over to the care of Spanish and Portuguese soldiers and sailors who took ill on board ship and could not therefore continue their voyages.
We know from reliable documentation that four John of God Brothers came into the Asia Pacific region in 1606 under the leadership of Brother Brother Lazaro de Santa Maria. These Brothers were members of the expedition of the Portuguese explorer Captain Don Pedro Fernández de Quirós when he sailed from Callao, Perú, on 6 February 1606.
De Quirós had been commission by King Philip III of Spain " to explore New Guinea, Greater Java and the other southern islands and lands and bring them and that part of the world into my Spanish dominions".
The Philippines: In 1611, some Brothers reached Manila but, after doing good work there, they were forced to withdraw because they did not have the King’s permission to be in that colony of Spain. Only in 1659, did the Order find itself free to serve the poor and sick of the Philippines and to put down roots there by opening a novitiate and becoming recognised as a Vice-Province.
India: Portuguese Brothers had arrived at Goa, India, in 1685. They subsequently founded hospitals at Bacaim (1686), Din (1687) and Damao (1693). Indian Brothers joined the Order and the house at Goa became the motherhouse of the St. John of God General Commissariat of the East Indies.

Last Century

In Australia eight Irish Brothers established the first community and work of the Order at Morisset, New South Wales, in 1947. The following year they were joined by six more Irish Brothers and, in the years that followed, other communities and works were established in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
In Japan, three German Brothers from Bavaria established the first community and work of the Order at Kobe/Suma in 1951. Subsequently another community and work was established at Kobe/Kita in 1988. The last of these Brothers, Brother Cupertino Ederer, died in Germany in 2001.
In Vietnam, in December 1951, three Canadian Brothers arrived in Vietnam to establish the Order at Bui-Chu.  Later six other Canadian Brothers joined them. Political developments caused the Canadian Brothers to leave Vietnam in 1975.
In Korea, six Irish Brothers established the first community and work of the Order at Gwangju in South Korea in 1959. In the years that followed, other communities and works were established at Chun Cheon, Seoul and Damyang.
In India, three German Brothers from the Rhine Province established the first community and work of the Order in India at Kattappana, Kerala, in 1970. In the years that followed, other communities and works were established at Poonamallee, Deshgaon and Velloor.
In Papua New Guinea, two Australian Brothers, established the first community and work of the Order at Hohola in 1971. In the years that followed, other communities and works were established at Kamina, Aitape, Goroka and Walamu.
In the Philippines, in 1988, Cardinal Sin invited the Roman Province to make a foundation and lent them a building in Quiapo, Manila, where they opened a Formation House for their candidates, a Charity Polyclinic and a Special School for Hearing Impaired Children. Later the Brothers opened a Novititate and a Special Shelter for the Rehabilitation of Abandoned Cerebal Palsy Children in Barrio Salaban, Amadeo, Cavite.

This Century

In China, in 2000, in order to advance the Order’s plan to set up a hospice for dying persons at yanji in China, two Brothers (Brother Brendan Falhive and Brother Paul Joo) and a layman, Mr. Dominic Kwang Yeop Kim, lived at Yanji for three months (from April to June). Then the first members of the eventual Yanji Community began to reside at Yanji on 2 November 2001. They were a Brother (Brother Thadu Kang) and a layman (Mr. Suk Ja Young).
In East Timor, since 8 March 2004, the Order has been present, at the village of Laclubar, in the persons of two members of the Portuguese Province, Brothers Vítor Lameiras Monteiro (Portuguese) and José António de Lima (Brazilian). The Province was invited by Bishop Basílio do Nascimento to establish a Community at Laclubar, in his Diocese of Baucau. The Brothers came to East Timor on the basis of the Bishop’s invitation to provide the evangelical witness of a presence and interventions in the area of health and social action. The overall plan for the consolidation of the presence of the Order in East Timor is laid out in a document entitled “With St. John of God, a Firm Path to the Future” issued by the Portuguese Province in January 2007.
In Israel, the Order has been present, within the structures of various Provinces, most recently that of Lombardo-Veneta, since 1882. In 1996 the General Government of the Order listed Israel as one of the countries that make up the Asia Pacific Inter-Provincial Commission. This membership was not activated until, in 2008, the Prior of Nazareth, Brother Brother Franciszek Salezy Chmiel attended the Third Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Vietnam.
In Mauritius, the Order was established in 1976 and its home for the aged (Hospice St. Jean de Dieu) functioned as an integral part of the French Province from that time. In 2001 the diminishing numbers and aging of members of the French Province caused it to enquire about the possibility of handing over its work at Pamplemousses to another Province (the Indian Province). This was not accepted by the Indian Province but the discussions led to an agreement that the Community and work at Pamplemousses would be handed over to the Vietnamese Province. Eventually, in 2009, the Community became composed of three Vietnamese Brothers: Dominic Savio Tran Ngoc Tuyen, Dominic Pham Thanh Hoai (Superior) and Peter Nguyen Van Gnoc. The Community at Pamplemousses is actually a Community of the French Province although it is entirely composed of Vietnamese Brothers who, in accordance with article 84 of the Order’s General Statutes, have moved temporarily to the French Province while
And so, today, the Order, which made itself present in the Asia Pacific region back in the 16th and 17th centuries though the lives and work of European Brothers, is again growing the good seed of John-of-God Hospitality through the dedicated lives of Brothers and Co-workers who are men and women of the cultures of Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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What's New

The Province’s Representation at the Fusion
of the Order and the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd - 19 January 2015

The long planned fusion of two brotherhoods whose distinguishing charism is hospitality – focused by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God on people who are poor, sick and needy, and focused by the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd on people who are homeless and substance addicted – took place on 19 January 2015 at Albuquerque in New Mexico, USA. The Oceania Province’s representation consisted of a four person delegation which was led by Provincial Brother Timothy Graham and included Brother Vincent Kochamkunnel of the Indian Province who is currently studying in Sydney but has been designated by the Prior General for a formation role in the new North American Province of the Good Shepherd.    

Many of the Order’s Provinces sent representatives to the events connected with the fusion of the two religious families. Something like 80 Brothers and Co-workers were accommodated at the Albuquerque Best Western Hotel. As participants arrived over the weekend of 17-18 January the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd hosted them for Masses and meals at their nearby Community house (Mathias Villa). They also arranged visits to their Homeless Centre in downtown Albuquerque and to the next biggest neighbouring city – Santa Fe. (Remember references to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway in those cowboy films we saw on Saturday afternoons when we went to ‘the pictures’ when we were children.) 

A very suitable preliminary to the fusion was a midnight vigil on Sunday 18 January. During the period of prayer and reflection the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd (every member of the institute was present – even Brother Luke from Haiti and Brother Sean from Ireland) surrendered their religious habits, Good Shepherd Crucifixes and membership of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd. Then, at midnight, according to the decree of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, every Brother of the Good Shepherd automatically became members of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God with their perpetual vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience becoming solemn vows. However, the vow of Hospitality was not automatically bestowed on them. They made that vow into the hands of the Prior General later that day – at the 4 p.m. Mass in the main church of Albuquerque – that of St Philip Neri which dates its first construction to 1706.

The fusion process culminated in a Eucharistic celebration which was distinguished by the new Brothers of Saint John of God making vows of hospitality – solemn in all cases with the exception of the Scholastic Brother Enrique Wong. The Prior General then presented each new Brother with the Saint John of God crucifix and read the General Definitory decree that erected the new Province of the Good Shepherd in North America which, at its creation, has been composed of the communities and works of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd in the United States, Canada, Haiti, Ireland and England, the houses of the Canadian General Delegation and the West European Province’s community and work at Westville Grove (USA).

The final event of the ceremonies and celebrations was a formal dinner, attended by the local Archbishop Michael Sheehan who had been one of the celebrants at the Mass that afternoon. During the dinner a number of Province representatives presented gifts to the new Province as souvenirs of the occasion. Our Province gave the new Province an Australian Aboriginal painting (soon to be sent by express deliver to the Provincial headquarters at Hamilton, Canada.

A more official report on the establishment of the Province of the Good Shepherd can be found on the Order’s website – which includes some photos of the Mass. See (www.ohsjg.org)    


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