“This book,” says Fr. Donald Haggerty, author of Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation, “exposes the very important teaching of St. John of the Cross on the link between the trials of purification and the advancement in depth in a soul’s relations with God.”
The history of the Catholic Church features a number of great spiritual masters, saints, and mystics. Some of the giants of the Church’s rich spiritual and mystical tradition include Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Louis de Montfort, and Saint Faustina. A towering figure among all these giants is Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591), the priest and mystic who was a key figure in the Counter-Reformation in Spain and is one of the thirty-seven Doctors of the Church. He wrote four massive treatises on the spiritual life—most famously The Dark Night of the Soul and The Ascent of Mt. Carmel—and worked to reform the Carmelite order with St. Teresa of Avila.
Father Donald Haggerty has written many books on the spiritual life and contemplation. His new book Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation (Ignatius Press, 2022) is an in-depth exploration of the writing of the prolific Spanish mystic. Father Haggerty’s book helps the reader approach the theological richness and daunting prolificacy of the remarkable saint. It has been described as a “profound and beautiful book” by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P., a “spiritual masterpiece” by Kathryn Jean Lopez, and a “bold, bracing, exhilarating book” by Matthew Levering.
Father Haggerty is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. He taught moral theology and worked as a spiritual director in seminaries for twenty years, and has directed numerous yearly retreats for the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta.
He recently corresponded with Catholic World Report about his most recent book.
Catholic World Report: How did this book come about? Do you have a particular devotion to Saint John of the Cross?Lessons from the Master of Prayer and Contemplation – Catholic World Report