An Outline Of The Life Of St. John Of The Cross 
- 1542. Birth of Juan de Yepes at Fontiveros (Hontiveros), near
The day generally ascribed to this event is June 24 (St.
John Baptist's Day). No documentary evidence for it, however,
exists, the parish registers having been destroyed by a fire in
1544. The chief evidence is an inscription, dated 1689, on the
font of the parish church at Fontiveros.
- ? c. 1543. Death of Juan's father. 'After some years' the
mother removes, with her family, to Arevalo, and later to Medina
- ? c. 1552-6. Juan goes to school at the Colegio de los Ninos
de la Doctrina, Medina.
- c. 1556-7. Don Antonio Alvarez de Toledo takes him into a
Hospital to which he has retired, with the idea of his (Juan's)
training for Holy Orders under his patronage.
- ? c. 1559-63. Juan attends the College of the Society of
Jesus at Medina.
- c. 1562. Leaves the Hospital and the patronage of Alvarez de
- 1563. Takes the Carmelite habit at St. Anne's, Medina del
Campo, as Juan de San Matias (Santo Matia).
The day is frequently assumed (without any foundation)
to have been the feast of St. Matthias (February 24), but P.
Silverio postulates a day in August or September and P. Crisogono
thinks February definitely improbable.
- 1564. Makes his profession in the same priory -- probably in
August or September and certainly not earlier than May 21 and not
later than October.
- 1564 (November). Enters the University of Salamanca as an
artista. Takes a three-year course in Arts (1564-7).
- 1565 (January 6). Matriculates at the University of
- 1567. Receives priest's orders (probably in the summer).
- 1567 (? September). Meets St. Teresa at Medina del Campo.
Juan is thinking of transferring to the Carthusian Order. St.
Teresa asks him to join her Discalced Reform and the projected
first foundation for friars. He agrees to do so, provided the
foundation is soon made.
- 1567 (November). Returns to the University of Salamanca,
where he takes a year's course in theology.
- 1568. Spends part of the Long Vacation at Medina del Campo.
On August 10, accompanies St. Teresa to Valladolid. In September,
returns to Medina and later goes to Avila and Duruelo.
- 1568 (November 28). Takes the vows of the Reform Duruelo as
St. John of the Cross, together with Antonio de Heredia (Antonio
de Jesus), Prior of the Calced Carmelites at Medina, and Jose de
Cristo, another Carmelite from Medina.
- 1570 (June 11). Moves, with the Duruelo community, to Mancera
- 1570 (October, or possibly February 1571). Stays for about a
month at Pastrana, returning thence to Mancera.
- 1571 (? January 25). Visits Alba de Tormes for the
inauguration of a new convent there.
- 1571 (? April). Goes to Alcala de Henares as Rector of the
College of the Reform and directs the Carmelite nuns.
- 1572 (shortly after April 23). Recalled to Pastrana to
correct the rigours of the new novice-master, Angel de San
- 1572 (between May and September). Goes to Avila as confessor
to the Convent of the Incarnation. Remains there till 1577.
- 1574 (March). Accompanies St. Teresa from Avila to Segovia,
arriving on March 18. Returns to Avila about the end of the month.
- 1575-6 (Winter of: before February 1576). Kidnapped by the
Calced and imprisoned at Medina del Campo. Freed by the
intervention of the Papal Nuncio, Ormaneto.
- 1577 (December 2 or 3). Kidnapped by the Calced and carried
off to the Calced Carmelite priory at Toledo as a prisoner.
- 1577-8. Composes in prison 17 (or perhaps 30) stanzas of the
'Spiritual Canticle' (i.e., as far as the stanza: 'Daughters of
Jewry'); the poem with the refrain 'Although 'tis night'; and the
stanzas beginning 'In principio erat verbum.' He may also have
composed the paraphrase of the psalm Super flumina and the poem
'Dark Night.' (Note: All these poems, in verse form, will be found
in Vol. II of this edition.)
- 1578 (August 16 or shortly afterwards). Escapes to the
convent of the Carmelite nuns in Toledo, and is thence taken to
his house by D. Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, Canon of Toledo.
- 1578 (October 9). Attends a meeting of the Discalced
superiors at Almodovar. Is sent to El Calvario as Vicar, in the
absence in Rome of the Prior.
- 1578 (end of October). Stays for 'a few days' at Beas de
Segura, near El Calvario. Confesses the nuns at the Carmelite
Convent of Beas.
- 1578 (November). Arrives at El Calvario.
- 1578-9 (November-June). Remains at El Calvario as Vicar. For
a part of this time (probably from the beginning of 1579), goes
weekly to the convent of Beas to hear confessions. During this
period, begins his commentaries entitled The Ascent of Mount
Carmel (cf. pp. 9-314, below) and Spiritual Canticle (translated
in Vol. II).
- 1579 (June 14). Founds a college of the Reform at Baeza.
- 1579-82. Resides at Baeza as Rector of the Carmelite college.
Visits the Beas convent occasionally. Writes more of the prose
works begun at El Calvario and the rest of the stanzas of the
'Spiritual Canticle' except the last five, possibly with the
commentaries to the stanzas.
- 1580. Death of his mother.
- 1581 (March 3). Attends the Alcala Chapter of the Reform.
Appointed Third Definitor and Prior of the Granada house of Los
Martires. Takes up the latter office only on or about the time of
his election by the community in March 1582.
- 1581 (November 28). Last meeting with St. Teresa, at Avila.
On the next day, sets out with two nuns for Beas (December 8-
January 15) and Granada.
- 1582 (January 20). Arrives at Los Martires.
- 1582-8. Mainly at Granada. Re-elected (or confirmed) as Prior
of Los Martires by the Chapter of Almodovar, 1583. Resides at Los
Martires more or less continuously till 1584 and intermittently
afterwards. Visits the Beas convent occasionally. Writes the last
five stanzas of the 'Spiritual Canticle' during one of these
visits. At Los Martires, finishes the Ascent of Mount Carmel and
composes his remaining prose treatises. Writes Living Flame of
Love about 1585, in fifteen days, at the request of Dona Ana de
- 1585 (May). Lisbon Chapter appoints him Second Definitor and
(till 1587) Vicar-Provincial of Andalusia. Makes the following
foundations: Malaga, February 17, 1585; Cordoba, May 18, 1586; La
Manchuela (de Jaen), October 12, 1586; Caravaca, December 18,
1586; Bujalance, June 24, 1587.
- 1587 (April). Chapter of Valladolid re-appoints him Prior of
Los Martires. He ceases to be Definitor and Vicar-Provincial.
- 1588 (June 19). Attends the first Chapter-General of the
Reform in Madrid. Is elected First Definitor and a consiliario.
- 1588 (August 10). Becomes Prior of Segovia, the central house
of the Reform and the headquarters of the Consulta. Acts as deputy
for the Vicar-General, P. Doria, during the latter's absences.
- 1590 (June 10). Re-elected First Definitor and a consiliario
at the Chapter-General Extraordinary, Madrid.
- 1591 (June 1). The Madrid Chapter-General deprives him of his
offices and resolves to send him to Mexico. (This latter decision
was later revoked.)
- 1591 (August 10). Arrives at La Penuela.
- 1591 (September 12). Attacked by fever. (September Leaves La
Penuela for Ubeda. (December 14) Dies at Ubeda.
- January 25, 1675. Beatified by Clement X.
- December 26, 1726. Canonized by Benedict XIII.
- August 24, 1926. Declared Doctor of the Church Universal by