St. John was born toward the end of the 11th century at Matera, a town in the Kingdom of Naples. On reaching adulthood, he joined a monastery on the island of Taranto. His single-mindedness in keeping the Rule created problems for the others monks and led John to leave. Seeking a monastery that would fit his makeup, the Saint went to Calabria and then to Sicily. In his guest he returned to the mainland at Ginosa. He rebuilt a church nearby dedicated to St. Peter.
However, John was arrested and imprisoned because there was a belief that he had found and kept hidden treasure. He escaped to Capua and joined the community of St. William of Vercelli. When fire destroyed their dwelling, he journeyed to Bari, where the people were deeply moved by his preaching. A charge of heresy was leveled at the Saint out of jealousy, but he was easily cleared of it. Returning to Ginosa, he was welcomed by his former disciples and preached a successful mission at St. Peter’s Church.
Still following his religious impulse, John went to Mount Gargano and at nearby Pulsano built a monastery. Some sixty monks flocked to his community, and he shepherded them as their Abbot. So well did he do so that he became renowned for his wisdom, miracles, and gift of prophecy. He died on June 20, 1139.
PRAYER: Lord, amid the things of this world, let us be wholeheartedly committed to heavenly things in imitation of the example of evangelical perfection You have given us in St. John. Amen.