Life and work

Venerable José Gregorio Hernández: Life and work

Second of seven brothers, a man attached to God and to the church with fervent faith since childhood. Doctor by profession and vocation. Dr. José Gregorio Hernández , revered by thousands of followers within the Catholic Church, not only in Venezuela but in much of Latin America, for his incredible power, even after death, to save the lives of people of any type of diseases. In this article we show you the story of José Gregorio Hernández.

Jose Gregory Hernandez

Born in Isnotú State Trujillo, Venezuela, on October 26, 1864, after the painful death of his older sister, María Isolina, his parents joyfully welcome José Gregorio Hernández Cisneros, in a humble corner of the old mud-walled house, palm roof and brick floor. Belonging to a noble, humble family with good principles, where his parents Benigno Hernández and Josefa Cisneros taught him and his 5 siblings the importance of good values ​​and the deep love that God displayed on them.

José Gregorio Hernández Short Biography

The life of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández originated in a small town called Isnotú, where he grew up as an agile child, with a curious spirit, thinker, obedient, orderly, compassionate and generous, who rarely allowed himself to be seen as a bit unruly, but always a child. calm and submissive. He saw his father working in the merchandise businesses, such as groceries and pharmacy, with important merchant firms in the city of Maracaibo, since that town was the closest to Isnotú. His mother, a woman of grace and charisma, always dedicated to the home, a woman of faith and piety, attached to God and the church, had the vocation of helping others, whether it be orphans, widows, the poor and the sick.

José Gregorio Hernández , having remained as the older brother, felt an enormous responsibility to ensure the protection and care of his little brothers, despite this, he organized himself and took time to learn to read and write, because one of His biggest dreams were to go to the Venezuelan capital to finish his studies.

When he turns 8 years old, he receives one of the worst news a person can receive, the death of his beloved mother. After this event, José Gregorio Hernández decides to follow her legacy, and just as he inherited it from her, he put into practice from a very young age the great charity he possessed towards the poor and sick, his self-sacrifice and piety, as well as his religious fervor and faith in God, which he exercised with special firmness and perseverance throughout his life. From his father he inherited character and strict compliance with duties and obligations.

Since he was 9 years old, José Gregorio attends the local school directed by the teacher Pedro Celestino Sánchez and who knew how to observe in José Gregorio, who had learning skills that should be used lucid aptitudes so that he will finish his studies in Caracas .

Four years after the death of his mother, in 1876, his father married again with Maria Hercilia Escalona. From these second marriages, 6 brothers were born to José Gregorio.

Here we can see an old photo of José Gregorio in childhood.

Don Benigno, father of José Gregorio, was concerned about his son’s education. One night he decided to talk with him in depth to make a decision regarding his education. José Gregorio confesses that he wishes to continue his studies in the city of Caracas.

– “Dad, if you can send me, I would appreciate it, it will hurt me a lot to leave them, but I think that by studying hard I will be able to help a lot of people”

José Gregorio Hernández wanted to be a lawyer to administer justice, but his father insisted that he become a doctor to help those who suffer, he reminded him of his mother’s work, and José Gregorio promised him that he would be a doctor.

Jose Gregorio Hernandez Student

As a young man and approximately 13 years old, around 1878, José Gregorio made several stops with two family friends, to get to Caracas, traveling to Maracaibo, then to Curaçao, and from there landing in Caracas.

We attach a photograph of José Gregorio as a teenager.

Once in Caracas, he could not believe how wonderful and majestic the campus that would house him for many years would be. It was the Colegio Villegas, directed by the illustrious Guillermo Tell Villegas, a citizen of great virtues and very humanitarian.

Not much time had passed when José Gregorio left his teachers and classmates shocked by his brilliant intelligence and his incredible kindness and kindness towards others. For 3 consecutive times he obtained, on his own merits, the exemplary conduct application medal. Within the campus he had become a leader and model for the other classmates.

On May 25, 1882 he obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Central University. In that same year, he enters the university to start studying, as he had promised his father, Medical Sciences.

He began to study for the degree and shortly after and once again he had become an exemplary student, responsible and organized for study, schedules and responsibilities, dedicated to medicine with great passion, in the third year of study José Gregorio fell seriously ill due to Due to a very strong fever, the entire student union, friends and relatives worried about his state of health, since José Gregorio had won everyone’s hearts with his impeccable attitude and his great camaraderie.

By his decision, he asks his director of conscience, the Parish priest Juan. B. Castro, administered the anointing of the sick, which he received with great faith and willing to die if it was God’s will. After a couple of days of rest, he fully recovered, and without wasting any more time, he resumed his academic studies in medicine with much more strength than before.

He concluded his medical studies on June 26, 1888, where José Gregorio asked the governing citizen to set the day of the final exam that would make him eligible for the title of doctor. The exam is set for June 29, 1888. José Gregorio’s fame was that of being the first student at the university, and he succeeded. After the exam, a jury decides to review it in great detail and, after this, the secretary Dr. Guánchez shouted: “Unanimously approved and outstanding”

That day was unforgettable for José Gregorio Hernández , although a little painful due to the absence of his loved ones, friends and classmates decided to throw a huge party in his honor, an event that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

His career as a doctor

José Gregorio never had money left over, so he had to help himself to his studies with private piano lessons, since he learned with the two friends with whom he went to Caracas, he also made extreme savings to be able to pay all the bills. bills. He also felt the need to make his clothes himself following the advice of an old friend who was a tailor.

All this was worth it, since at his short 23 years he was already graduating with honors as a doctor. He was ready and eager to help others, just like his late mother did.

Dr. Dominici offered to help him financially to set up an office in the city of Caracas, more, however, the words of now Dr. José Gregorio Hernández were the following:

“How I appreciate your gesture Dr. Dominici! But I must tell you that my position is not here. I have to go to my town. In Isnotú there are no doctors, and my people are there, where one day my own mother asked me to return to relieve the pain of the humble people of our land. Now that I am a doctor, I realize that my position is there, among mine.”

While he managed to get a trip to Isnotú, he worked in Caracas. His friend, Juan de Dios Villegas, had moved to the shepherdess, and in the same house he gave shelter to José Gregorio, in Doña Matilde’s guest house. In that room he installed his temporary office. Her fame was spreading everywhere and her clientele was increasing, that room had become not only her office, but it was her bedroom, her spiritual office and even her small space to give advice as a tailor.

He was never full of money or luxury, he could barely meet his basic needs, despite this he was a very neat and clean person. Despite not being wealthy and having money only for what was fair, he did not hesitate for a second to help others, one of the most incredible stories is that Doña Matilde brought José Gregorio food on a tray, he after When she ate it, she returned the tray with an empty plate. This pleased Doña Matilde, since it meant that the food was good and had been to her liking.

More, however, after a few days Doña Matilde realized that José Gregorio was leaving just after eating with a bag in his hand, she decides to follow him, and realizes that he is heading to an alley in La Pastora, where at end of this are some hungry beggars who were waiting for him with great joy, he gave them food and apologized for the delay.

Doña Matilde grabs him by the arm and decides to take him back to the house, where she serves him another plate of food, and José Gregorio replies: “You already served my food.” “Today you served the Lord, because he has fed my poor”

As he had been planning for a long time, José Gregorio Hernández already had everything ready to return to Isnotú, again making various stops with waiting days in Maracaibo and Curazao, upon arrival he strongly asks to be allowed to visit the cemetery where his deceased mother is. , and to whom he dedicated the following words

“Help me fulfill this mission that you entrusted to me one day and that God in his holy designs has placed in my hands as a humble sinner. Guide me now, I don’t have you!”

A sweet hand has been placed on her shoulders, and seeing who she was, she realizes that she is a woman of immense kindness reflected in her face, she tells her:

“You just said you don’t have a mother. It is not true, because you have me, I am María Hercilia, your father’s wife and your mother too.

José Gregorio, as well as an excellent doctor, was a good Venezuelan, and he wanted at all costs to be able to raise and make his country emerge in medicine, since France and Germany had the best professionals and teams in advancement of health. As a good Christian, he asked God every day, that through his will he could fulfill that dream. And, as God is great, he heard his prayers, and never imagined the turn his life would take.

Receives a letter from the distinguished teacher, glory of medicine, Dr. Calixto González, who greatly appreciated José Gregorio, informing that the president planned to send a young man with aptitudes to Europe, so that he could study with perfection certain experimental subjects of the medicine, in order to bring knowledge and new technologies to the Venezuelan capital.

José Gregorio, due to his popularity as the best university student, best doctor and excellent human being, is nominated as the first option for the trip to Europe. The young applicant had to move immediately to the city of Caracas and ready to start the trip to Europe once and for all.

Hernández, after thinking about it thoroughly and analyzing it carefully, remembers the memory of his mother and that from heaven she would help him, he decides to accept the proposal with a scholarship, and immediately moves to Caracas to face the challenge and the dream he wanted so much. .

And so it was that Dr. José Gregorio Hernández settled in the beautiful city of Paris, France, to work and continue his studies at the University of Paris.

Again, as usual, José Gregorio stood out incredibly in front of the other fellow students, he was passionate about his career, he loved dissecting tissues, he studied the organs of the bodies of the sick, he was in a hurry to guess the terrible mysterious secret of death. Every day that he passed, the admiration of his professors and colleagues grew, and while his classmates were looking for a little fun and pleasure in the beautiful streets of Paris, José Gregorio spent his time fully dedicated to the studies of science. .

He spent hours in the research labs, alone with the deceased, running tests and building hypotheses. He had a salary paid by the government of Venezuela, he was a bright and attractive young man for French women, however, José Gregorio Hernández had the ability to refrain from any entertainment, because he understood the enormous responsibility not only before his family, but before his country and above all to God.

After hard work in the scientific laboratories, professors from the University of Paris give José Gregorio the award for “The best doctor-student in our specialty” with emotional messages full of joy and pride from his professors: Charles Richet , Mathias Duval and Dr. Isidor Strauss. June 17, 1890.

While in Paris, he received the news of his father’s death on March 8, 1890, which was a very sad moment for José Gregorio since he was very far from his native country. He decides not to fight his assets as his older brother, and decides to leave them to his brothers.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Public Instruction, dated December 8, 1890, Dr. José Gregorio Hernández , lets you know that next May he will complete his preparation and that he is willing to carry out the most important part of the mission. , which would be the introduction of modern scientific studies in Venezuela, would send a list of instruments and equipment necessary to install in the city of Caracas, an experimental physiology laboratory, in an institute that will be at the level of the most advanced in the world. scientific world, since it would be a faithful and exact copy of the one of the medical school in Paris.

Request that was approved on April 21, 1891.

return to the motherland

With the arrival of the illustrious Dr. José Gregorio Hernández , the first Experimental Physiology Laboratory was installed, as well as the creation of new study chairs such as Normal, Pathological and Bacteriological Histology, with this the truly scientific stage of the Venezuelan medicine and history. These subjects would be given by Dr. José Gregorio Hernández , who in turn was appointed director of the laboratory.

After this, Venezuela began to participate in international congresses led by Dr. José Gregorio Hernández , advanced scientific studies began to be carried out in Caracas, which made the name Venezuela very high.

It is important to note that José Gregorio Hernández formed a school and left a model of university life which is an example to follow, thanks to his dedication, dedication and passion, in addition to this, he was always an exemplary man, full of values ​​and good principles. delivered to the love of God and faithful to the Catholic Church with great faith and fervor.

Religious life

He was born into a Catholic family, a believer in God and in the church. Where he was taught all the principles and paths of the creator’s love. From a very young age he learned to pray and thank God for his family and for his achievements. Throughout his life, his devotion and love for God grew more and more, he put in his hands all his patients whom he cured.

At the age of 43, he decides to retire from all his functions as professor and laboratory director to apply and enter a Carthusian religious convent in Italy, where upon arrival he receives the name of Fray Marcelo. After a couple of months he decides to return to Venezuela, because the weather conditions made him seriously ill, the best option was to return to his country for his speedy recovery.

After this, he entered the seminary of Santa Rosa de Lima in which he belonged for approximately 3 years, when one day he decided to try again, but this time, with his sister Isolina, to return to prepare to participate in the monasteries, but nevertheless the strong winter made his lungs sick and he felt compelled to return to Venezuela.

In Venezuela, he participates in the Franciscan Order, living the gospel like Saint Francis of Assisi. Attending to his patients with great vocation and faith.


On June 29, 1919, Dr. José Gregorio Hernández completed 31 years of graduating as a doctor. He got up as usual, but in a special way, to take a shower and go out to enjoy the holy mass on that beautiful Sunday, he always listened to her on his knees and received communion.

He always prayed to God for his profession and for all his patients, for his family and friends, and also for world peace. After mass, there is nothing better than celebrating your graduation anniversary by caring for and healing the sick, especially orphans.

When he returned at around eleven in the morning to have his breakfast, which was generally bread with butter and cheese with paper juice, his sister-in-law had surprised him by leaving him a jar of soursop carato that he liked so much, and from which he He had two glasses. Hernández, before eating lunch, always went to the Blessed Sacrament, which was exposed all day in the church of San Mauricio, where he prayed the Hail Mary with great fervor.

That day around 2 in the afternoon he receives a call, where his services are requested as a doctor to heal an old woman who was in poor health and who lived between Amadores and Cordones , Dr. José Gregorio Hernández decides to leave without further setbacks, he was passing by the amateur pharmacy to buy some medicine, when he is unexpectedly hit by a vehicle, thus impacting the sidewalk, the pavement and a pole.

Dr. José Gregorio Hernández was transferred in the same car in which he was run over, since the driver, a 28-year-old man who knew him and had helped him as a doctor on several occasions, took him to the Vargas Hospital in Caracas, and that At that time there were no doctors, so without wasting time they went to look for Dr. Razetti at his house and take him to the hospital, but when he arrived it was already too late, Dr. José Gregorio Hernández had died.

beatification process

After the death of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández , and due to his religious position, many of his followers continued to ask the doctor, from glory, to help save and heal the lives of sick people, after years verdicts began to be given that said that the doctor did perform miracles and not only to one person, but to thousands in different parts of the world.

Thanks to all these revelations, the Venezuelan Catholic Church began in 1949 the process of beatification and canonization of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández . Then in 1972 in Rome it is recognized that the Venezuelan doctor lived an exemplary life in faith towards God full of good principles, it is for such that he is granted one of the first steps towards sainthood, servant of God.

On January 16, 1986 by Pope John Paul II he is named Venerable, since a series of requirements had been completed.

The Vatican informs the Archdiocese of Caracas on April 27, 2020, that the miracle of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández was approved for the incredible healing of a 10-year-old girl named Yaxury Solórzano Ortega, who had received a stray bullet during a robbery. to his father on March 10, 2017. After this event, the current pope, Francisco, signed on June 18, 2020 the decree for the beatification of Dr. Hernández for the beginning of the year 2021, due to the pandemic that he is currently suffering from. world.

It should be noted that, once this event has occurred, Dr. José Gregorio Hernández will be called Blessed, and that the approval of other miracles, which are being investigated, is still awaited, so that he can be taken to Saint.

Prayer to José Gregorio Hernández for healing

Since his death, Dr. José Gregorio Hernández, his faithful followers and those who admired him, made some novenas, prayers and prayers that they use when they go to ask for a miracle of healing for themselves or family members and/or acquaintances that require their services. This prayer is dedicated in the ninth of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández

O Lord my God, Almighty! That you have blessed your beloved servant José Gregorio Hernández so much, and that by your great mercy you have given him the power to heal the sick and help the needy, grant him Lord the grace to heal me as a spiritual doctor of my soul and my body, if It must be for your glory. 

I ask this, my Lord, in the name of your beloved Son who recommended these beautiful teachings to us: “Ask and he will give it to you. Everyone who asks receives. But he asks in faith. Everything is possible for those who have faith. Everything you ask the Father in my name will be granted.

Grant us these graces that we need, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who taught us to pray saying… (Our Father)

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