Today, 14 December, we celebrate the feast of a great Spanish mystic, a friend and a co-reformer of the Carmelite religious family, namely Saint John of the Cross.

Born in Fontiveros, Avila, Spain in 1542, as Juan de Yepes y Alvares, John came from a family who turned poor overnight. His father, who was employed by a wealthy family, was disowned simply because he married a poor woman.

From its earliest days, John’s life was destined for great suffering. He not only was born from a poor family but, to add insult to injury, his father died when he was just three years old. Family poverty killed his older brother Louis, two years, due to malnutrition. Finally, John’s mother found a job, weaving, that could support her and her family.

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