It is part of four works by John dealing with the so-called Dark Night of the Soul, when the individual Soul undergoes earthly and spiritual privations in search of union with God. Along with the other three, The Dark Night Of the Soul, The Living Flame of God and the Spiritual Canticle, it is regarded as one of the greatest works of mysticism in Christianity and in the Spanish language.
Included in The Collected Works are St. John’s poetry, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love, as well as his extant letters and other counsels.
Complementing St. John’s writings are a comprehensive General Introduction for the entire work, as well as brief, enlightening introductions for each specific work, explaining theme and structure. These are enhanced by new and expanded footnotes and a glossary of terms.
About the Translators
Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
Father Kieran, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, made his profession as a Discalced Carmelite in 1947. He has held several important positions within the order, including prior, formation director, and provincial councilor. A founding member of the Institute of Carmelite Studies, he subsequently served as its chair, as well as publisher of ICS Publications.
Father Kieran’s major contributions in the field of Carmelite studies are his translations from the Spanish of the works of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, in collaboration with Father Otilio Rodriguez. He also was the English translator of God Speaks in the Night: The Life, Times and Teaching of St. John of the Cross, a pictorial biography of St. John of the Cross commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death, published in several languages. In addition to translations, Father Kieran is also the author of two ICS Publications’ study editions of the works of St. Teresa, and has written several other books on St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross. Father Kieran has lectured and written widely on the teaching of both of these Carmelite saints. He is a member of the Discalced Carmelite community in Washington, D.C.
Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
Father Otilio was born in Mantinos, Palencia, Spain, and was a Carmelite for more than fifty years. He was provincial of the Burgos province several times and also served as rector of the Discalced Carmelites’ international pontifical theological faculty, the Teresianum, in Rome. Father Otilio was one of the founders of the Institutum Historicum Teresianum and was a member of the Institute of Carmelite Studies. Both internationally and throughout the United States he gave retreats and lectures on Carmelite history and spirituality and wrote extensively on Carmelite subjects. Father Otilio died in Rome in 1994.
He is known for his rich use of symbolism and imagery within his poetry.
Dark Night of the Soul is the title of a poem written by 16th-century Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross, as well as of a treatise he wrote later, commenting on the poem.