Gonzalo de Yepes was born into an upper-class family in Castile, Spain, and had bright prospects until his father was wrecked in a speculative business. Gonzalo was welcomed into the home of a wealthy uncle, who intended for him to marry one of his younger daughters after his father died a beggar. The young man would have been set for life if he hadn't fallen 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 thus married in simplicity, and their union produced three sons, the youngest of whom became known as Saint John of the Cross.
Saints' stories do not usually begin with their parents' courtship. However, love is at the heart of the action in this historical tale, as Saint John of the Cross became one of the Church's best experts on intimacy with God. His mystical poems on divine love are regarded as some of the best lyrics ever written in Spanish.
Richly painted against the backdrop of Spain's Golden Age, the story depicts the joys and tribulations of young Juan de Yepes Alvarez's family. His desire to do good for others, his call to the priesthood, and his acceptance into the Carmelites all unfold in enthralling fashion. Saint John's attempts to reform the Carmelite Order, along with those of Saint Teresa of Avila, put him to the ultimate test. His religious brothers resisted him severely, placing him in a dungeon where he was repeatedly assaulted and nearly starved to death. In spite of all, this ardent and fascinating man would write: "Where there is no love, put love and you will gain love."
Paperback. 217 pages.