A group sculpture dedicated to St John of God
A splendid group sculpture dedicated to Saint John of God has just been inaugurated in Palencia (Spain), commemorating the 425th anniversary of the Order’s presence in the city.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the institutions, including the city Mayor, and a large public who had come to watch the inauguration of this monument as a thoroughly deserved tribute to the work that our Order has been performing in this city for the past 425 years.
It stands on a carefully site: the first St John of God Hospital (1594–1835) was built by the side of Plaza San Lázaro before being transferred to the premises in the old sanatorium, where it remained from 1889 to 1930.
This work, by the sculptor Oscar Aragón, also comprises a reproduction of the arch that stood over the main entrance to the first hospital, in front of the bronze group sculpture (standing two and a half metres tall) of Saint John of God taking care of a patient by accompanying him to the hospital.
The Prior General of the Hospitaller Order, Brother Jesús Etayo, highlighted the fact that “… after so many years we have returned to this very site in the city where the first Brothers arrived, to immortalise through this highly symbolic group sculpture the presence and the mission inaugurated by the Brothers of St John of God at that time, and which has continued throughout the ages until today.”
These words were echoed by the Mayor of Palencia, who said: “The fact that our city is equipped with health and social care services is thanks to the seed first sown by St John of God in this very place.”
Brother Mariano Bernabé, the Director of the Palencia St John of God Health Care Centre, thanked the city for having provided this rotunda which is “so meaningful and emotionally dear to the Brothers of St John of God, because it was on this site that our first Hospital stood, and there is still a street here dedicated to Saint John of God and the Church of Saint Lazarus which is closely bound up with our history.”
This group sculpture, inaugurated for the admiration of the local people, represents all the institutions and the people who devote their lives to the service of others.