St. John of the Cross
Life of St. John of the Cross
- Saint John of the Cross was born on June 24, 1542. His birth name was Juan de Yepes Alvarez. He was born to a Jewish family.
- Saint John’s father died when John was just a boy, leaving his mother, himself, and two brothers in poverty. The family moved from village to village trying to survive.
- Saint John of the Cross began working in a hospital when the family moved to Medina del Campo in 1551.
- Saint John of the Cross went to school at the Society of Jesus between 1559 and 1563 where he studied humanities.
- On February 24, 1563, Saint John of the Cross entered the Carmelite Order, taking the name Juan de Santo Matia.
- In 1564, Saint John of the Cross moved to Salamanca to study theology and philosophy. He attended the University and the Colegio de San Andres.
- Saint John of the Cross was ordained in 1567. At this time, he began his work with the Carmelite reformation along with Saint Teresa de Jesus. He worked with Saint Teresa until 1577 and founded many monasteries in Spain.
- In December of 1577, Saint John of the Cross was ordered to relocate by his superiors. He refused this order and was imprisoned in Toleda. While in prison, Saint John of the Cross suffered from brutality, whippings, and isolation in a tiny cell.
- Saint John of the Cross escaped from his prison after nine months through a small window.
- While in prison, Saint John of the Cross wrote most of his most noted poem, Spiritual Canticle. The brutalities he suffered are described in the St. John of the Cross poem.
- Saint John of the Cross continued his work on the reformation and monasteries for the Carmelite order.
- On December 14, 1591, Saint John of the Cross died of cellulitis. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. Saint John of the Cross was also named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
- The feast of St. John of the Cross is celebrated on December 14. On this day, prayers are offered to Saint John of the Cross by many Catholics. They also wear a Saint John of the Cross medal or a Saint John of the Cross charm in honor of his steadfast work and faith.