Monday, June 24, 2013

St John of the Cross

It's the birthday of St. John of the Cross, born in Hontiveros, Spain (1542), the patron saint of mystics, contemplatives, and Spanish poets. He grew up in poverty — his father having given up his noble birth to marry a peasant girl. His father died when he was young, and he worked at a hospital for the poor to help earn money for his mother. Along with St. Teresa of Ávila, he worked to reform the Carmelite order. He was arrested for his attempts at reform, and he was treated brutally, given a public lashing once a week. But he wrote some of his best poetry while he was imprisoned. He managed to escape, and continued to work on Church reform and to write poetry, and even today he is considered one of Spain's greatest poets, with poems like Spiritual Canticle and Dark Night of the Soul.

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