Book of Saints – Saint John of the Cross

detail of a statue of Saint John of the Cross in the Plaza de las Carmelites, Beas de Segura, Jaén, Spain; date and artist unknown; photographed by Cosasdebeas on 29 November 2009; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

December 14

John was born in Spain in 1542 of very poor parents. At twenty-one he became a lay brother at a Carmelite monastery, but his superiors sent him to study for the priesthood.

After his ordination he met Saint Teresa of Avila, who told him to take up the work of making his own Order more faithful to the teaching and example of Christ. He became the first prior of the Discalced or barefoot Carmelites, and took the name of John of the Cross.

John is a saint because his life was spent according to the words of Jesus: “If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.” Some of his friars cast him into prison. After nine months of suffering he escaped. He wrote: “Live in the world as if only God and your soul were in it; then your heart will never be made captive by any earthly thing.”

John died in 1591. Because of his writings on holiness he was declared a Doctor of the Church.

MLA Citation

  • Father Lawrence George Lovasik, S.V.D.. “Saint John of the Cross”. Book of Saints. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 January 2019. Web. 15 September 2019. <>