Saint John Joseph of the Cross domain

Today’s saint is not to be confused with the more famous Saint John of the Cross, the Carmelite mystic and doctor of the Church. Saint John Joseph of the Cross (1654 – 1739) was far less known, and he (and the other Saint John, we would presume) would rejoice in such. Carlo Gaetano Calosinto was born on the lovely volcanic mountain island of Ischia, in the Adriatic Sea, just off the coast from Naples. Looking it up, I thought of moving there – an impulse that moves me more than usual in these latter days of winter in Ontario, Canada. But Carlo was not much interested in such, being more detached from the world than I, or most of us, giving his life to the Friars Minor as a novice at the tender age of 16. A friend of mine related that he recently met an aged Franciscan in Italy, who had joined at a similar age, who would gently chide the younger men joining at 21 or so, saying that they were a bit late in the game, and had not given all to God! What that says of middle-aged muddlers meandering through life, well, perhaps is best left unsaid, but God can save us all in the labyrinth of life, if we just keep going, in hope.

Carlo took the name John Joseph, and never looked back, devoting himself to the humblest of tasks cheerfully, even as he rose in the ranks of the Order. He was ordained almost against his will, and had to be persuaded to take upon himself the dignity of the priesthood, of which he deemed himself unworthy. When he traveled, he never revealed who he was, always taking the ‘lowest place’. His asceticism was renowned (see above, for meanderers!), and miracles abounded – but he would ask that those cured take some natural remedy, so that the healing might be attributed thereto, and, yes, hidden.

Amare nesciri, said Saint Philp Neri, love to be unknown, and such was Brother John Joseph, of whose existence I did not know until this morning. But he died renowned for his holiness, and was soon beatified by Pope Pius VI in 1789, and canonized by Gregory XVI, in 1839 on May 26th, the feast, wouldn’t you know it, of Saint Philip himself, with whom he is now rejoicing in heaven.

By his prayers, may we join them in God’s good time, even if our path be a more circuitous one than theirs.

Saint John Joseph of the Cross, ora pro nobis! +


(source: wikipedia, in partibus)