A religious man, Dr. Hernandez was twice called to the priesthood and he travelled to Italy for religious training in 1908 and 1913, but each time his fragile health forced his return to secular life in Venezuela, where, as a "servant of God," he treated the poor for free and even bought medications for them at his own expense. It was while on his way to deliver medicine to a patient's home in Caracas, Venezuela, that he was struck and killed by a car on June 29, 1919. He was 54 years old.
After his death, his fame as a healer and as a spiritual assistant to doctors grew. His remains are venerated in the church of La Candelaria in Caracas, and both doctors and patients all around the world have testified to his intercessory powers, especially for those seeking a proper diagnosis and healing under a physician's care.
The Vatican has heard the words of the people, and in 1949
the process of canonization was begun. In 1985, after more
evidence of his miracles was heard, another official step
was taken toward his sainthood, and so Dr. Hernandez is now close to
being declared a Saint of the Catholic Church. It seems likely that
once sanctified, he will become both a Patron Saint of
the nation of Venezuela and a
of medical students, diagnosticians, doctors, and all patients requiring the
help of physicians for healing.
The picture of Dr. Hernandez at the top of this page is from an Italian holy card and shows Jose Gregorio Hernandez in his street clothes, as a consulting physician and professor of medicine.
The second picture is a bit more unusual. Taken from a Venezuelan novena booklet devoted to the magnification of Dr. Hernandez's fame, it depicts him standing in a field against a backdrop of high mountains, while behind him a surgical operation is underway in the open air. This pose, in which he wears a suit and hat and stands with his hands clasped behind his back, is the usual form found in statues of Dr. Hernandez.
As his fame and reputation have spread, holy cards, candles, car statues, and anointing oils bearing the likeness of Dr. Hernandez have entered the marketplace. These are used by spiritual practitioners who wish to keep the image of the doctor before them as a simple adjunct to their prayers and devotions. It is said that those who light a novena candle to Dr. Hernandez and carry his holy card with them while going in for medical tests will obtain the most accurate and favourable diagnoses possible. Medical students also seek his aid in this way while they are taking tests. Likewise, people who have scheduled surgery have reported benefits from keeping a Dr. Hernandez novena candle burning in the home on the day of the operation and thereafter.
It is my hope that the following prayer to Doctor Jose Gregorio Hernandez will be of use to all, and will find service among those who request the intercession of this gentle, generous, and spiritually gifted healer.
Alleged to Help in Matters of Health and Medicine
When a saint grants your wish, it is customary, to give an offering of some kind in return. Because Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez, the servant of God, was a humble man, and was personally involved with the distribution of medical charity to the poor, it is a beautiful thank-offering to him to quietly contribute money for the relief of the suffering of others, especially those who cannot easily afford medical care. Such an offering of charity, rather than flowers or the magnification of his name, is what this saint-to-be prefers, and in keeping with his own manner of living, such works should not boasted upon, but all gifts distributed in his name should be given with humility and a loving, kindly heart.O, my all-powerful Lord! You have brought your beloved servant Jose Gregorio to Your heart, to whom, with Your great mercy, You gave the power to heal the sick of this world. Give him now, Lord, as my Spiritual Physician, the grace to heal me, both in body and soul, and the power to guide the hands of the mortal doctors who are working on my behalf. I ask you this favor, Dear Lord, in the name of Your beloved Son who taught us to pray, "Our Father who art in Heaven..." Amen.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Dr. Althaea Yronwode for bringing back a Novena of Dr. Hernandez from her trip to Venezuela, to the customers in my shop who have helped me to experience his intercessory powers first-hand, and to Antonio Sanabria, whose Spanish-language biography of Dr. Hernandez was a valuable resource.
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