Saint John-Joseph of the Cross
St. John-Joseph of the Cross (1654-1739) was born on the island of Ischia, near Naples. He joined the Franciscan Order of the Strict Observance (the reform of St. Peter of Alcantara) at age sixteen. His influence was great despite his young age, and after three years he was sent to help found a new order of friars in Piedmont, where he was ordained to the priesthood. He codified a set of guidelines for spiritual and daily life that were approved by the Holy See and became a lasting model for religious communities. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. During his time as Vicar, he implemented a rule that no beggar would be turned away without assistance, and in times of extreme scarcity, he would offer his own portion to the poor. He was known as a deeply holy man who served Christ and the monastic community through daily acts of mortification and humility. Despite his high-ranking position, he continued to lead a life of service and took on menial tasks whenever possible, from working in the kitchen to chopping firewood. He was said to have performed numerous miracles as well as the gift of prophecy. St. John-Joseph of the Cross is the patron saint of Ischia and his feast day is March 5th.
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