Feast Day : September 18
Name meaning: “God is gracious”
Also known as: Juan Masías, Juan Macías
John Massias was born in Rivera de Fresno, Badajoz, Spain, on March 2, 1585. His parents died when he was young, leaving him in the care of an uncle. He got to know a merchant from Seville who planned to go to America and enter a religious order, and with him left for the New World in 1619. They landed at Cartagena, in what is now Colombia, and John traveled to Quito, Ecuador, and then by mule and on foot to Lima, Peru, the country in which he was to spend the remainder of his life. He arrived in Lima in February 1620, just before his 35th birthday. For two years John worked on a cattle ranch on the outskirts of Lima, then moved into the city. After distributing his earnings to the needy, he was admitted as a brother to the Dominican monastery of Santa María Magdalena (La Recolecta), taking the habit on January 23, 1622. John was a man of elevated sensitivity, one of the purest mystics of his century. His life in the monastery was marked by profound prayer, penitence and charity. He acted as doorman, a position that placed him at the center of meetings with the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged of Lima. He also walked about the city in search of alms to share with the poor, never missing the opportunity to give advice and to speak about the Christian life and the love of God. His council was wise, and even the Spanish viceroy and Lima’s nobility sought him out on occasion. John Massias died on September 16, 1645, at 60 years of age. Many miracles have since been attributed to his intervention.