About Saint John of the Cross:
Born in 1542, Saint John of the Cross led the reform of the Carmelite religious order along with Saint Teresa of Avila. For nine months he was imprisoned by his brother friars because they did not want to hear Saint John’s reforming views. During this dark time of his life, he attained an unmatched union with God. From this experience he gave us his greatest work, and one of the classics of Western Spirituality, La Noche Oscura del Alma (The Dark Night of the Soul).
Here is an article from The National Catholic Register that will tell more about his life (will open in new window)
He died while traveling in the city of Úbeda and was buried there; but, at the request of the monastery in Segovia, his body was secretly moved back to Segovia in 1593. The people of Úbeda, however, unhappy at this change, sent a representative to petition the pope to move the body back to its original resting place. Pope Clement VIII issued a Brief on 15 October 1596 ordering the return of the body to Úbeda. Eventually, in a compromise, the superiors of the Discalced Carmelites decided that the monastery at Úbeda would receive one leg and one arm of the corpse from Segovia (the monastery at Úbeda had already kept one leg in 1593, and the other arm had been removed as the corpse passed through Madrid in 1593, to form a relic there).
A hand and a leg remain visible in a reliquary at the Oratory of San Juan de la Cruz in Úbeda, a monastery built in 1627 though connected to the original Discalced monastery in the town founded in 1587.
His head and torso were retained by the monastery here at Segovia. They were venerated until 1647, when on orders from Rome designed to prevent the veneration of remains without official approval, the remains were buried in the ground. In the 1930s they were disinterred, and are now located in a side chapel in a marble case above a special altar.
Also of interest here: Above the church on the cliff is a very small chapel where Saint John of the Cross often went for reflection. He planted a tree there whose dead trunk you can still see. A visit there is by special permission only.
About the Convento de San Juan de la Cruz:
The chapel has a beautiful modern paining depicting his “path to enlightenment”. At the entrance to the church, there is a small bookstore. Entry is free.
As mentioned above, the relics of Saint John of the Cross are one of the highlights of the Monastery church. The church contains his very elaborate tomb. You will also find several interesting relics such as an original handwritten letter.
Address: Paseo Segundo Rincón, 5 40003-Segovia.
Tel: +34 921 431 961 – +34 921 431 349 – 646 156 507