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The latest issue of Communicationes, the bulletin sent out at intervals from our Rome HQ, contains the news that our current celebration of the anniversaries of Therese of Lisieux (1923 beatification, 1925 canonisation) is to be followed by an extended celebration of anniversaries of St John of the Cross (Canonisation 1726, made Doctor of the Church 1926). Among other things, this will help us see the intimate connection between these two great saints - the simple young Normandy lady without pretensions in her sheltered life to intellectual attainments and the Spanish university-educated theologian who was at home quoting Aristotle as he was quoting the Bible. Therese tells us that at one point in her life she read scarcely any other author but John of the Cross. To frequent John is to discover an intellect that balances theological profundity with the homeliest of imagery. His writing is literally stuffed with analogies - from the infant suckling at the breast to the log of wood burning in the hearth. In his combination of academic attainments with literary genius he reminds me of two giants of the twentieth century - Professors C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien.

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