John of the Cross
Juan de Yepes (John of the Cross) was born in Fontiveros, Spain, in 1542. His father died soon after his birth and his mother struggled to look after her three sons. His mother moved to Medina del Campo, and John was placed in an orphanage where he stayed till his teens. He then became a nurse and attended a Jesuit college. He entered a Carmelite Monastery at the age of 21 in Toledo in Spain. Wanting a more rigorous spiritual life, John of the Cross was about to leave the order for a more secluded one, when he met Teresa of Avila who encouraged him to join her in Medina where she had founded a reformed group of Carmelite nuns. Together they then founded the reformed group of Discalced Carmelites for the Friars. Opposed to the reform, the friars in Toledo captured him in 1577 and imprisoned him for 9 months in a dark cell and treated him brutally. It was during this time he began to receive divine consolations and began to write some exquisite mystical poetry. He escaped in August...
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