St. John Joseph of the Cross was born on the feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother in the year 1654. He was born on the beautiful Island of Ischia near Naples. From childhood he was a model of virtue and piety. At the age of sixteen he entered the Franciscan order of the Strict Observance. He was the first Italian to follow the reform movement of St. Peter Alcantara. John Joseph had a sense of holiness and this put him in charge of establishing a friary in Peidmont before his ordination. He joined the work crew in building the friary. Obedience moved John Joseph to accept appointments as novice master, guardian and provincial of the Order. When he was superior, he ordered that no beggar should be dismissed from the convent gate without relief. He was not above working in the kitchen or carrying wood and water needed by the friars. When his term as provincial expired, he dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing mortification. On March 5, 1734, John Joseph died at the age of eighty, his final glance resting on a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was buried in Naples where his grave is a constant object of veneration. Miracles still occur there. Pope Pius VI beatified him, and Pope Gregory XVI solemnly canonized St. John of the Cross on trinity Sunday in the year 1839.
St. John Joseph of the Cross is the patron saint o Ischia. His feast day is celebrated on March 5th.
PRAYER TO ST. JOHN JOSEPH OF THE CROSS
St. John Joseph, we ask today for your might intercession, to pray for us that we learn humility and seek an attitude of service we we, too, may follow in the footsteps of Jesus. In His Mighty Name we pray. Amen.