By Christina Hermoso
Roman Catholics honor on Saturday, December 14, the life and works of a popular and well-loved Spanish mystic, Saint John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz), a Doctor of the Universal Church and co-founder, with Saint Teresa of Avila, of the Discalced Carmelites.
Many parishes in the country, such as the St. John of the Cross Parish in Pembo, Makati City, will hold special masses in his honor.
Considered as a major figure in the Catholic reformation, St. John worked with St. Teresa in the reformation of the Carmelite Order, and together, they founded the Discalced Carmelites in 1568, a religious order devoted to the service of the Blessed Mother through prayer, solitude, humility, and penance.
Born on June 24, 1542 in Fontiveros, Spain, St. John studied under the Jesuits. He died in the year 1591 and was canonized on Dec. 27, 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. In 1726, Pope Pius XI declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church.