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Saint of the Day: St. John of the Cross

Author of The Dark Night of the Soul


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Discalced Carmelite Priest and Doctor of the Church (1542-1591)

His life

+ Juan Yepez was born in Old Castille, Spain, in 1542. He entered the Carmelite Order in 1563 and was ordained a priest in 1567.

+ Shortly after his ordination, John of the Cross met Teresa of Avila and she invited him to join in her work of reforming the Carmelite Order. John committed himself to this effort and became the first member of the monastery of Discalced (“Barefoot”) Carmelite Friars in Durelo.

+ Serving in several administrative positions, he maintained an intimate union with God that distinguishes him as one of the greatest contemplatives in the Church’s history.

+ Despite the opposition to his work of reform, including being imprisoned by his Carmelite brothers, he dedicated his life to serving others.

+ John of the Cross’s writings, including The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love, are filled with symbols and metaphors describing the soul’s search for the Beloved. His most endearing work is his Dark Night of the Soul.

+ Saint John of the Cross died on December 14, 1591. He was canonized in 1726 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926.

For prayer and reflection

We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit.”—Saint John of the Cross

Spiritual bonus

On December 15 we also remember Saint Yusuf Jurj Kassab al-Hardini. A Lebanese Maronite monk in Batrun, Lebanon, he was known as Father Nimatullah. Spiritual director and novice master of his community, he later served as the spiritual director of Saint Sharbel Makhlouf. Saint Nimatullah al-Hardini died in 1858 and was canonized 2004.


O God, who gave the Priest Saint John
an outstanding dedication to perfect self-denial
and love of the Cross,
grant that, by imitating him closely at all times,
we may come to contemplate eternally your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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