A) THE ORIGINS
Joâo Cidade, now venerated with the name San Giovanni di Dio [St. John of God] that he assumed when ordained, was born in Portugal near Èvora about in 1491 (pict.A1). After an adventurous life he dedicated himself to the health service of the sick people and in 1539 founded in Granada a religious family of “Frati Ospedalieri” [Hospital friars], with the purpose to assist sick and poor people. This new Religious Institution was recognized in 1572 by the pope Pius V with the "Licet ex debito" papal bull and was nicknamed "Fatebenefratelli" [do good, brothers], from the phrase used by the saint to invite the passer-by to make charity: «fate bene, fratelli, per amore di Dio» [do good, brothers, for love of God]. The pope Sistus V with the breve "Etsi pro debito" elevated the congregation to Regular Order in 1586 joining the communities spread in various countries under an unique chief staying in Rome at the Tiber Island.
St. John of God died in 1550 in Granada and never came to Rome, but the Fatebenefratelli reached it for the first time in 1572 and there, in 1581, they founded the first hospital nucleus in the former "casa degli Orfanelli" [house of orphans] at Piazza di Pietra (pict.A2): the so-called "new Hospital" consisting of 20 beds only. In june 1585 they moved to the Tiber Island where, thanks to the help of pope Gregorio XIII, bought a convent previously held by the benedictine nuns Santucce until 1573 and subsequently by the Bolognesi's brotherhood. Moreover the pope granted them the adjacent church of St. Giovanni Calibita.