Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Memorial of St. John of the Cross

He was born in Spain in 1542 and died there in 1591.  His entire life wasn't easy.  His father gave up wealth and family to marry his poor mother who he loved.  And then his father died at a young age, leaving his family destitute.  St. John of the Cross learned about poverty, sacrifice and love during these uncertain times.  As an adult, he joined the Carmelite Order and befriended St. Teresa of Avila.  Together, they set out to reform the Carmelite Order but received great resistance.  Members of his own order kidnapped him and jailed him for nine months before he escaped.  During his imprisonment, he wrote poetry to God.  His faith and reliance on God thrived in his desolation.  St. John did escape and spent the rest of his life sharing his experiences of loving God.  You can read more about St. John of the Cross here and here.

Here is part of one of his most favorite poems The Spiritual Canticle:


Where have You hidden Yourself, 
And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved? 
You have fled like the hart, 
Having wounded me. 
I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

O shepherds, you who go 
Through the sheepcots up the hill, 
If you shall see Him 
Whom I love the most, 
Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

In search of my Love 
I will go over mountains and strands;
I will gather no flowers, 
I will fear no wild beasts;
And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

O groves and thickets 
Planted by the hand of the Beloved; 
O verdant meads 
Enameled with flowers, 
Tell me, has He passed by you?

Advent Blessings to all,


  1. Love St. John of the Cross. Thank you for posting on him, Noreen.

  2. Noreen,

    One of my favourite saints. I regularly dip into St John of the Cross' writings. Also St Teresa of Avila's. I think their books are available as free ebooks on the Internet. Maybe your links mention this. I will have to go and follow them!

    God bless.

  3. Noreen,

    I just had a look for the free ebooks. Both St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila's works are available on the website you were recommending the other day, the one where St Ambrose's writings can be found! Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

    I am going to download them to my Kindle! So many wonderful books available. Thank you for the link the other day.

    God bless!

  4. Thank you for the follow up Sue! I will have to check it out too.

  5. Hi Noreen!
    Thank you for stopping by at Familia Católica. I haven't done anything for St Stephen, but I would be interested in any ideas. I will keep it in mind! Also, I wanted to invite you to join us for the Link Up party around the Liturgical Year that I am hosting. You can see details here:
    There are still feasts open. Let me know!!

  6. Please Noreen, don't think of me as being disrespectful or in any way insolent. But I have to ask this: Why is that Saint picking his nose whilst he has his photo taken?

    Happy Advent.

    God bless.

  7. I just read about St. John the Cross with my children this morning! What an incredible story and life! I love learning more about the saints through your lovely blog here. The lives of the saints are incredible and I can only imagine how much they sacrificed and suffered to pass down our beautiful faith! BTW, I grabbed your blog button and put it on the left margin of my blog! I'm in the middle of a blog makeover with Lynda so I can't wait for the new look to come out after Christmas! God bless!

  8. PS: How did you get that Advent wreath on your right margin? I think it's lovely!

  9. Another PS :) To answer your question from my blog post, no I haven't celebrated St. Stephen and haven't come across any printables. Have you checked Lacy's blog at Catholic Icing for anything?

  10. Beautiful, Noreen. My husband and oldest son had the honor to visit Segovia in Spain where St. John of the Cross spent the last years of his life. They were there this past World Youth Day. We now have a fonder affection for this great Saint! Thank you for sharing this:)

  11. Victor~ chuckling here. Perhaps he wanted to make sure his picture was memorable!!

    Tracy~ their sacrifice seems great compared to the lives we lead her in America. It's truly humbling that they often gave up their lives for the love of Jesus. I will check out your new blog look!
    Lynda helped me with my header too! She's great!

    Tiffany~ your husband and son are very fortunate to visit Spain and walk where St. John of the Cross used to walk!

  12. Hi Noreen,
    St. John of the Cross is a favorite of mine, along with St. Teresa of Avila! Victor's comment made me laugh! It does kind of look like he's picking his nose, doesn't it? Leave it to Victor to notice that! Lol!