St John of God was born Joao Cidade in Portugal in 1495 (about the time Christopher Columbus was making his voyages of discovery to the New World, later to be deemed America) but from the age of eight years, he lived in Spain.
The Irish congregation of the St John of God community was founded in Wexford in 1871 by Bishop Thomas Furlong and Mother Visitation Clancy. Just thirty-three years later, in August 1904, following the request of Dr O’Neill, Bishop of Dromore, three members of the Order travelled to Newry to take charge of the Daisy Hill Infirmary.
Inevitably they worked too in the workhouse that was on the same grounds. Agnes Boyd of the Board of Guardians (grandmother of Russell Boyd, of Boyd’s Stores) saw to that. Sr M Malachy Kearns was appointed as nurse of Newry Workhouse at