Grande Román, Juan, St.
GRANDE ROMÁN, JUAN, ST.
In religion Juan (Grande) Pecador (John the (Great) Sinner), religious of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God; b. March 6, 1546, Carmona (near Seville), Andalusia, Spain; d. June 3, 1600, Jerez de la Frontera (near Cadiz), Spain.
Like his father before him, Juan Grande was a cloth merchant in Carmona until he left home to discern his vocation in solitude near Marcena. Upon discovering God's will for his life, Grande moved to Jerez de la Frontera (1566). He tended prisoners and the elderly poor, first in a room off the chapel of La Virgen de los Remedios, then in a hospital (Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria) that he established next to the Church of San Sebastian. He became known for his extreme austerity, intense prayer life, and service to anyone in need including prisoners, prostitutes, and even 300 fugitive Spanish soldiers after the English stormed Cadiz. During an epidemic in 1574, he successfully mounted a campaign to help victims that involved many people, even the city council. That same year he adopted the rule of the Hospitallers of St. John of God and gathered others to assist in his apostolate. In 1576, he took the habit of the Hospitallers and transferred Candelaria into their hands. At the request of Bishop Rodrigo de Castro of Seville, he reorganized the local hospital system to provide better care to the poor. He contracted the plague which was ravaging Jerez in 1600 and offered himself to God in atonement. The epidemic ended with his death in Candelaria Hospital. He was originally buried in the hospital courtyard, but later was transferred to his titular shrine in the hospital of the Brothers of St. John of God in Jerez.
St. John the Sinner was beatified in 1853. On June 2, 1996, Pope John Paul II canonized this patron of Jerez.
Feast: June 3.
Bibliography: L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed., no. 29 (1995): 5; no. 23 (1996): 1–2, 5, 12. j. l. repetto betes, El hermano Juan Pecador: biografía crítica del beato Juan Grande O.H., fundador del Hospital Jerezano de la Candelaria (Jerez de la Frontera 1984). h. sancho de sopranis, Biografía documentada del beato Juan Grande, O.H., fundador del Hospital de Candelaria de Jerez de la Frontera (Jerez de la Frontera 1960).
[k. i. rabenstein]