A Guide to Important Books about
St. John of the Cross and Christian Mysticism


John of the Cross, St. The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross. Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (1964). New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. Still in print from: ICS Publications; ISBN: 0935216146; Rev. Ed. edition (1991) $18.95

     _____The Complete Works of St. John of the Cross. 3 Volumes. (1949). Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers. Westminster, MD: The Newman Press.

     _____Ascent of Mount Carmel. Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers. (1958). Garden City, NY: Image Books. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/john_cross/ascent.html

     _____Dark Night of the Soul. Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers. (1959). Garden City, NY: Image Books. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/john_cross/dark_night.html

     _____Spiritual Canticle. Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers. (1961). Garden City, NY: Image Books.  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/john_cross/canticle.html


     _____Living Flame of Love. Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers. (1962). Garden City, NY: Image Books.

     _____St. John of the Cross Poems. With a translation by Roy Campbell. (1960). Baltimore: Penguin Books. This is one of the best translations of the poems of John of the Cross.

    _____Vida y Obras de San Juan de la Cruz. 6th Edition. (1972). Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos. Contains the biography by Crisógono de Jesús, O.C.D., revised and augmented by Matias del Niño Jesús, O.C.D., edited by Lucinio Ruano, O.C.D. This is a critical edition, and later editions are available.

Crisógono de Jesús Sacramentado. The Life of St. John of the Cross. Translated by Kathleen Pond. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1958. This is the English translation of the classic biography of John of the Cross, but it is out of print.

Brenan, Gerald. (1973). St. John of the Cross. His Life and Poetry. With a translation of his poetry by Lynda Nicholson. Cambridge: University Printing House. A good modern biography, but out of print.

God Speaks in the Night: The Life, Times and Teaching of St. John of the Cross. (1991) ICS Publicatons: Washington, DC.  ISBN: 0935216162; (July 1991) A richly illustrated work that is unfortunately out of print.


Teresa of Avila. (1960). The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Garden City, NY: Image Books. http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefaith/catholicclassics/stteresa/life/teresaofavila.cfm

_____ (1961). Interior Castle. Garden City, NY: Image Books.

_____ (1964). The Way of Perfection. Garden City, NY: Image Books.


The Cloud of Unknowing. (1973) Image Books: Garden City, NY. A classic by an anonymous medieval mystic. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/anonymous2/cloud.html

Garrigou-Lagrange, R. (1954). Christian Prefection and Contemplation According to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross. St. Louis: Herder. Presents the fruits of the mystical renewal of the first half of the 20th century.

John of St. Thomas. (1951) The Gifts of the Holy Ghost. Sheed and Ward. An indepth analysis of the gifts of the Holy Spirit by one of the great Thomists of the 17th century which stresses the role of love in mystical knowledge.

Knox, R.A. (1950). Enthusiasm. A Chapter in the History of Religion. London: Oxford University Press. A fascinating history of religion centered on visions and revelations, and other supposed direct communications from God.

Brother Lawrence. (1976) The Practice of the Presence of God. Spire Books: Old Tappan, NJ. A classic. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice.html

Maritain, Jacques and Raissa. (1943). Prayer and Intelligence. NY: Sheed & Ward. Especially "On the Call to the Mystical Life and Contemplation."

Peers, E. Allison. (1960). Studies of the Spanish Mystics. Three Volumes. London: S.P.C.K. A tour of the fascinating world of Spanish mysticism.

Poulain, A., S.J. (1957). The Graces of Interior Prayer. A Treatise on Mystical Theology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited. A book that helped start the mystical renewal at the beginning of the 20th century.

Rahner, Karl. (1963). Visions and Prophecies. New York: Herder & Herder. An excellent analysis of how visions and revelations are received and shaped by the psyches of the people who have them.

The Way of a Pilgrim. (1974) Trans. by R.M. French. Ballantine Books: NY. A classic. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/anonymous/way.html


Many of these books are, unfortunately, out of print. Try your library's interlibrary loan system to see if they can borrow them for you.