Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint John of the Cross (c. 1541–1591)

Saint John of the Cross (c. 1541–1591)

Patron saint of mystics

Feast day: December 14

Saint John of the Cross, a sixteenth-century mystic and scholar, was responsible for reforming the Carmelite Order. He admired the work of Saint Teresa of Avila in reforming the Carmelite monasteries of women and wished to do the same for the monasteries of men.

John suffered in his efforts at reform. At one monastery he was thrown into a prison cell at a monastery and, after eight months, finally escaped by removing the hinges from the prison door. But while there, he wrote a profound poem of the spiritual life, based on the Song of Songs, called The Spiritual Canticle.

John is now considered one of the foremost poets of Spain. He was a person who lived an austere life, renouncing many of the things of the world. John was a man of intense prayer who often prayed to Jesus as his Savior and had great dedication to the cross of Christ. (From Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens [Saint Mary’s Press]) 

(Image courtesy of the Archdiocesan Museum in Katowice, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)