St. John of the Cross
"And the Mother of God is mine, because Christ belongs to me."
Saint John of the Cross was born on June 24, 1542 in Fontiveros, Avila, Spain. He entered the Order of Carmelites in 1563 and was ordained a priest in 1567. That same year, he met Saint Teresa of Avila who spoke to him about her plans for the Reform of the Order in which he also then took part.
In 1568, the first Discalced Carmelite Convent was established. There they lived a life of profound contemplation and great austerity. In 1577, he was imprisoned in Toledo because his intents to reform their monastic life, and it was during this time that he composed the Spiritual Canticle. He escaped from the prison and found refuge in another monastery, and later continued to found other convents, including one in Granada in the year 1584. That same year he finished his writings on the Spiritual Canticle and the Ascent of Mount Carmel; he also composed the Dark Night of the Soul and the Living Flame of Love.
He was arrested again in 1591 by the superiors who were against the Reform, and they enclosed him in a convent in Peñeula. He died in Úbeda on December 14, 1591. His last words were, "Into your hands Lord I commend my spirit."
He was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII and declared Mystic and Doctor of the Church by Pius XI in 1926.