Fun Facts Friday: Juan de la Cruz

June 24, 2022

Juan de la Cruz (24 June 1542 – 14 December 1591), known as Saint John of the Cross, was a Spanish priest and poet. He is known for his three mystical poems.

Fun Facts Friday: Juan de la Cruz
Books by or about Juan de La Cruz (Saint John of the Cross)*

Fun Facts about Juan de la Cruz (Saint John of the Cross):

  1. Juan de Yepes y Álvarez was born in Spain, at Fontiveros, Old Castile. His family were conversos, meaning at some point his Jewish descendants converted to Catholicism.
  2. The young man had a difficult childhood. His father Gonzalo, an accountant to a rich silk merchant, married Catalina, a lower-class orphan. Gonzalo was rejected by his family and worked with his wife as a weaver. When Juan was three years old, his father died, reducing the family to poverty, which likely caused his older brother, Louis, to die of malnourishment.
  3. In 1567 Juan was ordained as a priest in the strict Carthusian Order. Their practice of silent contemplation and solitary appealed to the young man.
  4. While praying in the Ávila, Juan had a vision of the crucified Christ. He drew his vision and called it “from above”, the drawing inspired Salvador Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross (1951).
  5. Juan was imprisoned by a group of Carmelites opposing reforms. He said that his reforms have been approved by the papal nuncio to Spain, which had high authority than his superiors.
  6. Despite his argument, Juan was found guilty of disobedience and sentenced to long imprisonment. Imprisoned in a monastery, he was subject to weekly public lashings, isolation, and a dark, tiny cell.
  7. During this time, the jailed priest wrote a big part of Spiritual Canticle, his most famous poem.
  8. After his imprisonment, Juan was sent to Granada, in 1585 established a convent in Málaga, and was elected Vicar Provincial of Andalusia in the same year.
  9. To this day, Juan de la Cruz is considered one of Spain’s foremost poets. Both Dark Night and Dark Night of the Soul are considered masterpieces.
  10. The writings of Teresa of Ávila (who worked with in on his reforms), and Juan de la Cruz are considered to be the most important works of Christian mysticism influencing a variety of people including T.S. Eliot, Salvador Dali, Pope John Poel II (who wrote his theological dissertation on John of the Cross), Edith Stein, Jacques Maritain, and many others.

Books by or about Juan de La Cruz (Saint John of the Cross)*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Fun Facts Friday: Juan de la Cruz
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Fun Facts Friday: Juan de la Cruz
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Juan de la Cruz (24 June 1542 – 14 December 1591), known as Saint John of the Cross, was a Spanish priest and poet. He is known for his three mystical poems.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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