The Poetry Of Saint John Of The Cross & The Poetry Of Saint Teresa Of Ávila
Poetry of St John of the Cross by Saint John of the Cross (1542 – 1591). Translated by David Lewis (1814 – 1895).
The poems of St John of the Cross, with their mystic depth and spiritual ecstasy, stand among the world’s great poems of Divine Love in all traditions. St John is one of the Roman Catholic Doctors of the Church, was a reformer of the Carmelite Order, and co-founder with St Teresa of Avila of the Discalced Carmelites. Teresa invited John to follow her, and in the protocols of the times, also became her Spiritual Director and Confessor. Many of their individual works could be considered the products of their mutual support and inspiration.
John of the Cross, OCD (Spanish: Juan de la Cruz; born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez; 24 June 1542 – 14 December 1591), venerated as Saint John of the Cross, was a Spanish Catholic priest, mystic, and a Carmelite friar of converso origin. He is a major figure of the Counter-Reformation in Spain, and he is one of the thirty-seven Doctors of the Church.
John of the Cross is known gratefully for his writings. He was mentored by and corresponded with the older Carmelite, Teresa of Ávila. Both his poetry and his studies on the development of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and among the greatest works of all Spanish literature. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. In 1926 he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI, and is commonly known as the “Mystical Doctor”.
The Poetry of St Teresa of Avila by Saint Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582).
The poetry of St Teresa of Avila, recorded in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Saint’s birth (March 28, 2015).
Teresa of Ávila, OCD (born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada; 28 March 1515 – 4 or 15 October 1582),[a] also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish noblewoman who was called to convent life in the Catholic Church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, theologian of the contemplative life and of mental prayer, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church. Active during the Counter-Reformation, she reformed the Carmelite Orders of both women and men. The movement she initiated was later joined by the younger Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic John of the Cross. It led eventually to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites. A formal papal decree adopting the split from the old order was issued in 1580.
Teresa, who had been a social celebrity in her home province, was dogged by early family losses and ill health. In her mature years, she became the central figure of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal borne out of an inner conviction and honed by ascetic practice. She was also at the center of deep ecclesiastical controversy as she took on the pervasive laxity in her order against the background of the Protestant reformation sweeping over Europe and the Spanish Inquisition asserting church discipline in her home country. The consequences were to last well beyond her life. One papal legate described her as a “restless wanderer, disobedient, and stubborn femina who, under the title of devotion, invented bad doctrines, moving outside the cloister against the rules of the Council of Trent and her prelates; teaching as a master against Paul’s orders that women should not teach.”
Her written contributions, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus and her seminal work The Interior Castle, are today an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature. Together with The Way of Perfection, her works form part of the literary canon of Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice, and continue to attract interest from people both within and outside the Catholic Church.
Other associations with Teresa beyond her writings continue to exert a wide influence. A Santero image of the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo, said to have been sent by her with a brother emigrating to Peru, was canonically crowned by Pope John Paul II on 28 December 1989 at the Shrine of El Viejo in Nicaragua. Another Catholic tradition holds that Teresa is personally associated with devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague, a statue she may have owned. Since her death, her reputation has grown, leading to multiple portrayals. She continues to be widely noted as an inspiration to philosophers, theologians, historians, neurologists, fiction writers, psychologists and artists, as well as to countless ordinary people interested in Christian spirituality and mysticism.
Forty years after her death, in 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. At the time she was considered a candidate for national patron saint of Spain, but this designation was awarded to James the Great. She has since become one of the patron saints of Spain. On 27 September 1970 Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church in recognition of her centuries-long spiritual legacy to Catholicism.