Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Saint John of the Cross considered a Founder?

I thought Saint John of the Cross is considered a founder of the order along with Saint Teresa, and when I looked up the term "John of the Cross" with "Founder," I got a lot of results.
But the OCD website only lists Saint Teresa as a founder. And come to think of it, the Discalced Carmelites are called Teresian Carmelites, but not Teresian-Johannine Carmelites or anything like that. Was that listing on the site just something that they overlooked, or is Saint John really not considered a founder?

Saint Teresa is considered the Foundress and Mother of the Teresian Carmels not St. John. Because of the plan St. Teresa had to extend the reform to men, she had taken a special interest in John because she was personally impressed by him both intellectually and spiritually. She made John stay in the monastery with St. Teresa to personally learn the life Teresa had envisioned. In effect, St. John was St. Teresa's novice. But even though John is not a founder in the strict sense of the word, he was very instrumental and influential in the spiritual life of the Sisters. He was also St. Teresa's spiritual director, and later on John would become the Community Confessor, Chaplain and Spiritual Director at the Incarnation Monastery when St. Teresa was sent there to become prioress. He was to become the Master of Novices in Duruelo, the first community of the Discalced Friars. Anthony Heredia was the first prior. St. John's role in the Teresian reform would be more felt in the spiritual domain, even though later on he also held administrative roles in the Discalced Order. John and Teresa traveled together many times when Teresa was making different foundations. John became the face of the Reformed Carmel among men and paid dearly for his association with Teresa. He is probably better described as the spiritual father of the Reformed Carmel.

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