Biographical Chronology

1529 Marriage in Fontiveros of Gonzalo de Yepes and Catalina Alvarez, John's parents. 1530 Francisco, the first son, is born.

1532-40 Luis, the second son, is born; year uncertain.

1542 John (Juan de Yepes) is born; month and day uncertain.

1545 Don Gonzalo dies.

1545-46 Doña Catalina travels to Toledo with her three children in search of help from her husband's family. A brother-in-law takes Francisco, who suffers a year of abusive treatment by his aunt. Doña Catalina returns, rejected, to Fontiveros with her other boys.

1547 Luis dies.

1548-51 The family moves to Arévalo. Here Francisco marries Ana Izquierdo.

1551 The family moves to Medina del Campo.

1551-58 John attends the Catechism school. Tries apprenticeships at various trades. Serves as acolyte at La Magdalena.

1556 St. Ignatius Loyola dies. Charles V (d. 1559) abdicates. Philip II becomes king.

1559-63 John studies humanities and perhaps philosophy with the Jesuits. He also works at humble tasks for the hospital in Medina.

1562 St. Teresa establishes the reform at St. Joseph's in Avila.

1563 The Council of Trent closes. John enters the novitiate of the Carmelites at Santa Ana in Medina and makes profession the following year.

1564-68 He attends the University of Salamanca: three years in the arts program and one year in theology.

1567 Early months: the Carmelite General, Juan Bautista Rossi (Rubeo), visits Castile, authorizes Teresa to found dis-calced Carmelite monasteries of friars and nuns outside Avila.

1567 April: John is named prefect of students by the provincial chapter held in Avila. July: ordained a priest in Salamanca. August: sings his first Mass in Medina. September-October: First meeting with St. Teresa, who wins John over to her cause.

1568 John finishes his theological course at Salamanca and agrees to take part in the first house of discalced Carmelite friars. August: he journeys with Teresa to Valladolid and remains there several months to learn the Teresian way of life. October: moves to Duruelo to adapt the house to a monastery. November 28: inauguration of the discalced friars' first house in Duruelo; John is appointed subprior and novicemaster.

1569 Lent: St. Teresa visits Duruelo.

1570 June: Duruelo turns out to be unhealthy. The community moves to Mancera de Abajo. 
At the end of the year John visits Pastrana to bring unity in the criteria for formation.

1571 January: he accompanies Teresa to Alba de Tormes for her foundation of nuns there. He becomes rector of the university college of Alcalá de Henares. A new visit to Pastrana.

1572 May: in Avila, at Teresa's request, Fray John of the Cross becomes the vicar and confessor at the monastery of the Incarnation. He remains there with brief interruptions until 1577.

1574 March: he accompanies Teresa on the foundation in Segovia and returns at the end of April.

1575 Goes to Medina to discern the spirit of a discalced nun. May: the general chapter of the order at Piacenza (Italy) decrees reabsorption of the discalced Carmelites into the order.

1576 January: the first arrest of Fray John and his companion by the Carmelites of the Observance. The two are released through the intervention of the nuncio. September 9: the discalced Carmelites meet in Almodóvar del Campo. Fray John attends. Gracián presides. Christmas: John participates in the "Satirical Critique proposed and judged by Teresa, on the theme "Seek yourself in Me.

1577 June 2: St. Teresa begins to write The Interior Castle in Toledo. The nuncio Ormaneto dies. His successor does not favor the discalced Carmelites. December 2: John is abducted in Avila; between the 4th and the 8th he is brought to Toledo, where he remains for nine months in the monastery prison.

1578 August: during the octave after the Assumption, between 2 and 3 a.m., he escapes from prison. He takes with him a notebook containing various poems and remains hidden for a time in Toledo. October: on his way to Andalusia he attends the secret chapter of discalced Carmelites at Almodóvar. Elected vicar of El Calvario (Sierra del Segura, Jaén). November: John arrives at El Calvario and takes up his office.

1579 Fruitful activity among the nuns at Beas. "The Sketch of the Mount, " many of the "Sayings of Light and Love, " some undeveloped commentary on stanzas from The Spiritual Canticle and The Dark Night. April-May: he makes frequent trips to Baeza to plan the foundation of a new college there. June: John founds the university college in Baeza and becomes the rector.

1580 John's mother, Doña Catalina, dies in Medina. John visits Caravaca at Teresa's request. June 22: a brief from Gregory XIII decrees a separation between the calced and discalced Carmelites. John is given a gift of property at Castellar de Santisteban as a place for relaxation and prayer.

1581 March: attends the chapter at Alcalá where the brief of separation is implemented. Padre Gracián is named provincial; John, third definitor. June: John travels to Caravaca. November: John travels to Avila with the intention of bringing St. Teresa to Granada to make a foundation of nuns there. On returning without Teresa, he passes through Beas to take Ana de Jesús with him as foundress in Granada.

1582 January: continues on the journey to Granada. They arrive on the 20th. Doña Ana de Peñalosa enters into the plans for the foundation. John becomes prior of Los Mártires in Granada, where he writes most of his commentaries and various poems. April 8: five discalced Carmelite friars destined for the missions in the Congo set sail from Lisbon. October 4: St. Teresa dies in Alba de Tormes.

1583 May: John attends a chapter in Almodóvar. He is confirmed in his office as prior in Granada.

1585 February: John travels to Málaga for the nuns' foundation. May: attends the provincial chapter in Lisbon. He is elected second definitor. June-July: he returns from Lisbon by way of Sevilla, and then goes to Málaga. July-August: further travels to various communities. October: in Pastrana for the continuation of the chapter that began in Lisbon. The new provincial, Padre Doria, had to return first from Italy. John is appointed vicar provincial of Andalusia, with his residence in Granada.

1586 February: he travels to Caravaca. May: in Córdoba for a new foundation there. June: in Sevilla for the move of the discalced Carmelite nuns. He draws up papers for the foundation of friars at the Marian shrine in Guadalcázar. He journeys to Ecija, Guadalcázar, and Córdoba. July: he goes to Málaga. August-September: attends a meeting of definitors in Madrid. He brings Ana de Jesús with him for a foundation of nuns in Madrid. The definitory decrees the publication of Teresa's works and substitution of the Roman liturgy for that of the Holy Sepulcher, which the Carmelites had been using. October: makes a foundation of friars in Manchuela (Jaén). November: travels once more to Málaga. December: travels to Caravaca where he makes a foundation of friars. Travels to Bujalance to make plans for a foundation.

1587 January: plans for the foundation in Bujalance fail. February: a quick trip to Madrid at the request of the provincial, Nicolás Doria. March: travels to Caravaca to intervene in a litigation between the nuns and the Jesuits. He then moves on to Baeza. On the 8th, he is at the Marian shrine of Fuensanta (Jaén), which was entrusted to the discalced Carmelites. April: travels to Valladolid to take part in the provincial chapter. His duties as vicar provincial cease. He is elected prior of Granada once more.

1588 June: Doria convokes an extraordinary chapter in Madrid. John (a definitor on a committee for procedure) is elected first councillor (among six) in the new form of government called the consulta. He will reside in Segovia. During the absence of the vicar general (Doria), John will act as the major definitor and president of the consulta. He is also prior of the house. Some discalced Carmelites embark with the "Invincible Armada."

1589-90 As prior in Segovia, he makes important improvements on the property and undertakes building the new monastery. Doña Ana de Peñalosa is the benefactress.

1590 June: an extraordinary chapter is held in Madrid. Serious disagreements surface. John does not support Doria's plans for dealing with Gracián or with some nuns who were disenchanted with the idea of the consulta.

1591 June 1: on the eve of Pentecost, the chapter begins in Madrid. Doria is reelected. John has no office, is willing to go to Mexico. July-August: he moves to the solitude of La Peñuela in Andalusia. September: suffers from fevers and gangrenous sores on his foot. He transfers to Ubeda for medical care. November 27: the vicar provincial, Fr. Antonio de Jesús, arrives in Ubeda. December 7-8: John's condition worsens. December 11: he requests Viaticum. December 13: he bids farewell and begs the prior's pardonfor any disturbances he may have caused and an old habit for his burial. He receives the Last Rites and alludes frequently to the hour of his death. When the clock strikes midnight (December 14) and the monastery bell rings for Matins, he goes, as he had foretold, "to sing Matins in heaven.

1593 May: his remains are transferred to Segovia. Perhaps alluded to by Cervantes (Don Quixote, 1. 19).

1618 The first edition of John of the Cross's works (Alcalá), without The Spiritual Canticle.

1622 The first French edition of The Spiritual Canticle (Paris).

1627 The first Spanish edition of The Spiritual Canticle (Brussels).

1630 The first edition of the complete works in Spanish, prepared by Jerónimo de San José (Madrid).

1675 January 22: Clement X beatifies John of the Cross.

1726 December 27: Benedict XIII canonizes him.

1874 The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language includes John of the Cross in its official catalogue of writers who can serve as authorities in the use of words and phrases in the Castilian tongue.

1926 August 24: Pius XI declares St. John of the Cross a Doctor of the universal Church. His body is moved to the present tomb in Segovia designed by Félix Granda.

1952 The Spanish Ministry of National Education names John of the Cross the patron of Spanish poets.

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