The saint for March 05
St. John Joseph of the Cross
Optional Memorial,Local Only
Roman Calendar

Born 1654, on the Feast of the Assumption.
Died 1734
Canonized 1839

St. John Joseph was born in Ischia, Naples, to well-to-do parents. His name in the world was Charles Cajetan.  From earliest childhood he had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, and an overwhelming desire to live a life of retirement and contemplation.  Even as a child he was very ascetical, denying himself permitted pleasures, spending long hours in prayer, giving his spending money to the poor.  When he first reached adolescence, he made a fervent novena to discover what course in life to pursue, and found himself strongly called to the religious life, especially after the model of St. Peter Alcantara, whose franciscan penitential movement, the Alcantarines, had arrived in Italy.

Charles was admitted to the Alcantarine novitiate, and was permitted to make his vows when he was only 16, because his superiors saw his extraordinary holiness.   He was obliged by obedience to seek to be ordained as a priest, and spent long hours hearing confessions, for he was very gifted as a confessor and spiritual advisor. Although he wanted nothing more than to lose himself in contemplation and prayer, he assumed the duties of novicemaster, then increasingly responsible services as Guardian, definator, and finally, as provincial.

John Joseph of the Cross, as he was now named, was gifted by God with the ability to prophesy, to perform miracles and was given to frequent ecstasies, as well.  In all of this, he tried to make as little of it as possible, preferring to work in the kitchen, drawing water and carrying wood, rather than to call attention to himself.

Although self-mortifying in the extreme, Fr. John Joseph was never burdensome to the friars he lead.  Rather his love and forgiveness, as well as his wonderful example and humility, spurred the brothers on to ever greater perfection.

At the end of his life, John Joseph predicted the time and manner of his death, and after suffering a stroke, he passed peacefully into eternal life.

Patron of Ischia, Italy
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