into an upper class family in Castile, Spain, Gonzalo de Yepes had
good prospects, that is, until his father was ruined in a speculative
venture. After his father died a pauper, Gonzalo was welcomed into
the home of a rich uncle, who intended him to marry one of his
younger daughters. The young man would have been set up for life, but
he fell in love with Catalina Alvarez, the ward of a poor weaver, and
insisted on marrying her despite his uncle's threats to cut him off
from the family fortune.
Gonzalo and Catalina were wed in simplicity, and their union produced
three sons, the youngest of whom came to be known as St. John of the
of saints do not often begin with their parents' courtship. But in
this historical novel, love is at the very center of the drama, for
St. John of the Cross became one of the Church's foremost experts on
intimacy with God. His mystical poems on divine love are considered
some of the greatest verses ever written in the Spanish language.
drawn against the backdrop of Spain's Golden Age, the novel follows
the joys and hardships experienced by the family of young Juan de
Yepes Alvarez. His attraction to doing good for others, his call to
the priesthood and his entrance into the Carmelites all unfold with
captivating style. A challenge that tested Saint John to the utmost
were his efforts, along with those of Saint Teresa of Avila, to
reform the Carmelite Order. His Brothers in religion harshly resisted
him, even locking him in a cell where he was frequently beaten and
nearly starved to death. Despite all his suffering, this ardent and
fascinating man would write: “Where there is no love, put love and
you will gain love.”
moving historical novel on the great Spanish saint combines beautiful
lyrical writing with drama, conflict, love and spiritual depth,
revealing his deeply human characteristics as well as the mystical
and poetic gifts for which he is famous.
Measures 5.5" by 8".