St. John of the Cross was born in Spain in 1542. He became a Lay Carmelite brother at age 21 and a Carmelite priest at age 25. Following the advice of St. Teresa of Avila, he began the Discalced reforms in his order. His changes aided in the revitalization of his order. He died Dec. 14, 1591. This contemplative and spiritual writer was named a doctor of the church in 1926. St. John of the Cross is patron saint of contemplatives, mystics and Spanish poets.