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Monday, 04 March 2024
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St John of the Cross



A Carmelite who suffered much in attempting to reform the order, John of the Cross was a man of prayer, an outstanding poet, and a spiritual writer who was declared Doctor of the Church.

St. John was born John de Yepes at Fontiveros in Spain. He joined the Carmelite Order in 1563. St. John was convinced by
St. Teresa of Avila to join her in a crusade to reform the Carmelite Order. He agreed and changed his name from John of St. Matthias to John of the Cross. The reform caused the order to split into two groups, Calced and Discalced (or barefoot).

His own father was discarded by his family for marrying a poor orphan, and the Saint, born into poverty, chose it also for his life. Unable to learn a trade, he became the servant of the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still pursuing his spiritual studies.

In 1563, then twenty-one, he offered himself as a lay-brother to the Carmelite friars who, knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He would now have changed to the severe Carthusian Order, had not St. Teresa persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first prior of the Barefooted Carmelites. His reform, though approved by the general, was rejected by the older friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and apostate, and threw him into prison, from which he escaped after nine months of suffering. Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren of the Order, and publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by men only deepened his interior peace and detachment from things of earth.

St. John's major writings include "The Ascent of Mount Carmel", the "Dark Night of the Soul", and "The Spiritual Canticle". His feast day is December 14th.

"One prayer of thanksgiving when things go badly is worth a thousand when things go well."

— St. John of the Cross

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St John of the Cross