The 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord has gone to the Catholic religious order the Brothers Hospitallers of St John of God.
The announcement was made in the city of Oviedo, in Spain’s Asturias region. The Asturias awards are the Spanish world’s equivalent of the Nobel Prizes.
In his announcement the president of the jury, Javier Fernandez Fernandez said: “in more than 50 countries the order focuses on the difficult times the world is living through; in such sensitive issues as the Ebola epidemic, the migrant crisis and, in general, the protection of the most disadvantaged and those at risk of social exclusion.”
St John of God, a long-established order that works with the sick, came to prominence again tragically last year with “the deaths of missionaries treating Ebola victims in Africa“http://www.euronews.com/2014/08/07/spain-treats-europe-s-first-case-of-ebola/.
Two Spanish citizens were among 16 staff members of St John of God Hospitals in Sierre Leone and Liberia to have died during the outbreak. Their deaths were a poignant reminder of the order’s devotion to the health needs of the poor down through the centuries.
It was founded in Spain in 1535 by João Duarte Cidade, a former soldier, who was canonised as St John of God.