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Saint John of the Cross
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Religious Figure
    (1542-December 14, 1591)
    Born in Fontiveros, Spain
    Birth name was Juan de Yepes y Alvarez
    Spanish priest, mystic, and poet
    AKA Juan de la Cruz, and John of Saint Matthew
    Co-founder, along with Theresa of Avila of the Discalced Carmelite religious order
    Writings included The Dark Night of the Soul, The Spiritual Canticle, Ascent of Mount Carmel and various collections of his poetry
    Drew 'Christ From Above'
    Founded seven monasteries
    After his death, many pieces of his habit were torn off and stolen as souvenirs, his arms and legs were chopped off and sent to various monasteries and he was buried and reburied at least once.
    He left the strict Carthusian order to found the even stricter Discalced Carmelite order.
    Discalced means shoeless a reference to the members of the order, including him going everywhere barefoot.
    He was constantly involved in church infighting to the point of being imprisoned at one point.
    He sure had a lot of names.
    His poetry and mystical writings are considered some of the greatest works of Spanish literature and poetry in history.
    His writings were so original that his influences, aside from the Bible and then contemporary secular Spanish poetry have never definitively decided upon.
    He lost his father when he was seven and his brother when he was nine and grew up in extreme poverty.
    He was the favorite spiritual writer of Pope John Paul II.
    He founded seven monasteries.
    Although controversial during most of his life, as he grew older even his enemies recognized his sanctity.
    He died painfully of erysipelas a type of skin rash/infection.
    Although he didn't always (or even usually) get along with his fellow churchmen, he was dedicated to his flock and the poor and the Catholic Encyclopedia described him as '...a man overflowing with charity and kindness, a poetical mind influenced by all that is beautiful and attractive.'

Credit: tom_jeffords


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