December 14 St. John of the Cross, Priest & Doctor of the Church
It was at Fontiveros, Spain in 1542 that John de Yepes was born to Gonzalo de Yepes and Catalina Alvarez. Although John's childhood was marked by suffering he knew the security of the genuine selfless love of his mother and elder brother, Francisco.
At the age of 21 John entered the Carmelite Order in Medina. After completing the novitiate John
was sent to Salamanca and completed his studies with distinction at that famous University in the city.
In 1567 Fra John was ordained to the priesthood - and at this time he was seeking a deeper contemplative life. A meeting with Madre Teresa de Jesus in Medina led him to abandon a plan
to join the Carthusians and inspired him to give himself to a new venture proposed to him by St. Teresa, namely the inauguration of a reformed Monastery of Carmelite friars.
It was exactly what he was longing for. With two companions, he began the first monastery of the Teresian reform for the friars at Duruelo. John continued to work tirelessly for the expansion
of the reform. His great desire was to help others to know and love God through his preaching, spiritual direction and writing.
He died at the age of 49 in 1591. His feast day is kept on December 14th. John of the Cross has been described as one of the greatest Spanish poets of all time.
December 16 Bl. Mary of the Angels, Virgin
The last of eleven children, Mariana Fontaella, was born on January 7, 1661 into a noble family of Turin. At fourteen years, the young girl struggled hard to convince her widowed mother to allow her to become a nun and finally entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelites of St. Christine, founded by the Princess of Savoy.
On November 19th, 1675, Marianna received the Carmelite habit and was given the name, Mary of the Angels. She was professed in the following year.
Mary experienced a deep spiritual transformation after many trials and sufferings,
and became well known in the city for her sanctity and virtues. With a dispensation
she became Prioress at the age of thirty-three. During her life she had a reputation for holiness and wise counsel.
She is credited for ending wars, for liberating Turin from the advancing French armies.
In gratitude for this favor, the famous shrine at Superga was erected.
Blessed Mary enabled the founding of the Carmel at Moncoglieri.
She died in Turin on December 16th, 1717, on which day her feast is observed.
Where there is no love,
and you will draw out love !
St. John of the Cross
Those who truly love God
love every good, desire every good,
favor every good, praise every good.
(From the Office of Reading of her feast day.)