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Patron saint of poets in the Castilian language

Another great exponent of mysticism was Juan de Yepes, San Juan de la Cruz, (1542 – 1591). He was recognised as a Saint and Doctor of the Church and, in the literary field, he is considered patron saint of poets in the Castilian language.
St Juan was born in Fontiveros, a province of Avila, around 1542 and died at Ubeda in 1591. After spending several years in the Carmelite Order, from 1568 onwards, urged on by St Teresa of Jesus, he was the first to declare himself to be in favour of reforming the order. As a result of this stance, he was obliged to endure endless sufferings and work. His refusal to abandon these principles even led to his imprisonment and it was in prison where he found the inspiration for some of his finest poems.

St Teresa considered Juan to have a very pure soul, to which God had communicated great treasures of light and whose intelligence had been enriched by Heaven. The Saint’s writings justify her opinion, particularly the following poems: "Subida al Monte Carmelo" (Ascent of Mount Carmel); “Noche Oscura del Alma"(Dark night of the soul); "Llama Viva de Amor" (living flame of love) and the "Cántico Espiritual" (Spiritual canticle).

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