Saint John Joseph of the Cross
The prolific chronicler of saints Rev. Butler’s 1864 telling of the life of John Joseph of the Cross is awfully poetic: “When death came to pluck him from the tree,” Butler writes, “he dropped like a ripe fruit, smiling, into his hands.” The saint’s self-imposed tortures will strike the reader as a bit more violent.
When John Joseph was 40, in the late 17th century, the superior in his Naples monastery told him he needed to start wearing sandals; the saint placed a handful of small nails on the soles them before he put them on. Later, he nailed a foot-long cross directly into his back, the wounds from which never healed.