Closure of the Colombian Province’s Centenary
St. Benedict Menni’s restoration of the Order in Spain around 1867 also heralded in the new beginning of the hospitaller mission in Latin America.
The hospitaller Mission was brought back to life in Latin America, beginning with Mexico in 1901 and Colombia on 20 December 1920, when seven Brothers of St. John of God sailed from Spain to Bogotá to reactivate the mission in the Mental Asylum, later renamed the Sanatorio Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. This centre, and the foundations that would follow, formed the cornerstone of the future General Delegation and the later Colombian Province.
The Superior, Brother Alfonso Galtés, and Brothers Pío María Apesteguia, Raimundo Moya, the chaplain, Felipe Benicio Nieves, Diego de Cádiz, Manuel Azqueta and Diosdado Corominas, who had left Barcelona in October, arrived in Bogotá on 20 December 1920, when Fr Juan Jesús Adradas was the Provincial Superior of Andalusia.
The pomegranate continued to flourish. The huge needs of the poor and the sick and the hospitaller spirit of the Brothers drove the later spread of the John of God mission in Colombia with more centres and foundations: the Hospital San José in Bogotá, 1922, the Clínica San Rafael, Bogotá in 1929, the Clínica San Rafael Doima in 1931, the Hospital San Rafael, in Pasto 1932, the Clínica San Juan de Dios, in Manizales in 1953, the Clínica Nuestra Señora de la Paz, Bogotá in1956, the Clínica San Juan de Dios, La Ceja (Antioquia) in 63, and the Clínica San José, Cali in 1969. Other centres founded in the Province included the San Juan de Dios Bilingual School, two Schools for Technicians and Nursing Auxiliaries, the San Benito Menni Hospital, the leisure and meetings Centre, the San Juan de Dios Lake, the San Ricardo Pampuri Hospital, and the San Rafael Retirement Home.
The General Delegation and Province of Our Lady of Good Counsel
In 1946, the General Delegation was approved during the Generalate of Fr Efrén Blandeau; on April 26, 1947 the Province of Colombia was canonically erected, under the canonical title of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
For 73 years, from 1947 until 2020, the Colombian Province has been working on behalf of the sick and the needy, especially for the mental health of the Colombian people, and now we are approaching the unification process in January.
The Centenary which we solemnly inaugurated on 21 December 2019 in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Bogotá, in the presence of the Brothers, Co-workers, volunteers, benefactors and guests of our La Paz Clinic, was closed last Saturday, 19 December, with a Thanksgiving Eucharist for this year of unexpected and difficult events, celebrated in the Chapel of the Provincial Curia, presided over by Mgr Luis José Rueda Aparicio, Archbishop of Bogotá and Primate of Colombia. At the Mass, we presented the Letter of Brotherhood to Elsa Jurado, a Co-worker at the Clinic of Our Lady of Peace, with service awards to the Co-workers of the Colombian Province who have been serving with the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God for over 30 years, in the Colombian Province, in the centres of the Provincial Curia, the San Rafael Hospital in Pasto, the San Juan de Dios Clinic in Manizales, the Nuestra Señora de La Paz Clinic, the San Juan de Dios Clinic, La Ceja, Antioquia and the San Juan de Dios Bilingual School. At this ceremony we delivered awards to the city of Bogotá.
We also blessed a Memorial in the Hospitaller Mausoleum in our Chapel with photographs of many of the Brothers who have gone before us, serving and caring for our sick and needy Brothers, and we used the occasion to say our final farewells to the two Brothers who died this year in the Province: Brother José Vidal Quiroz, and Brother Raúl Armando Oses Ortega.