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Saint John of the Cross
About Saint John of the Cross
Saint John of the Cross was born in Fontiveros, Spain on the 24th
day of June in the year 1542. His father belonged to a extremely rich
family that had a prominent position in the Spanish society in those
times. He chose to marry John's mother though, which caused some major
issues in his life. John's mother was from a non-wealthy, working class
family and this was not okay with his father's family. They told him he
could do as he pleased, but if he chose to marry her that he would be
essentially dead to them as a son. Despite the threats from his family,
John's father still married his mother because he loved her very much.
He did not care that he would be losing his social status by doing so.
John's father would die when John was still growing up. This worsened
the already troubled situation that their family was having. John's
father was able to provide a little money to keep the family afloat by
working, but with John still being quite young his mother could not
afford to work and take care of him. They lost their home and were out
living on the streets for quite some time. When St. John of the Cross was old enough,
him and his mother would attempt to find work. Their efforts would turn
out to be fruitless though, and their poverty continued.
would find a job and his mother would too, but both earned meager wages
that were only enough to put a roof over their head and not much more.
John would let his mother eat his share of the little food they had
because he cared about her more than himself.
Saint John took the initiative to change something in his life though. He wanted to become more religious and joined the Carmelites to do so. Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John made many reforms to the Carmelite Order and did not make many friends by doing so. This did not phase their efforts though, and they would eventually return the order back to the way it had been hundreds of years before their time.
The members of the Carmelite Order that resented John and Teresa's efforts were still bitter over the change however. They ganged up on John and kidnapped him one day while he was sleeping. He was locked in completely dark, small cell. He was hardly fed and savagely beat multiple times a day. John used this time to become the most spiritual that he had ever been though.
spirituality would cause his break out from captivity eventually. He
found a way to take apart the gate he was locked behind and creep out
past the sleeping guards one night. John had one problem once reaching
the outer limits of the place he was being held, he did not really know
where he was at all. Saint John followed a stray dog that was walking
around, and it took him back to a nearby village. There John found a
convent. He told the nuns there of his life and they all agreed he must
stay with them. This is where John would spend the rest of his life. He
would die of an unknown sickness in December of 1591. Pope Benedict
XIII would canonize John a saint in 1726.