John of the Cross
Mystic, Poet, & Spiritual Guide: A Two Part Series


John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church, mystic, acclaimed Spanish poet, was a close collaborator of Teresa of Avila in reforming the Carmelite Order in the 16th century. Then, as now, at a time of political upheaval in Church and country, John looked at life events and nature as movement by the Spirit. His poetry speaks of his deep mystical experiences. A skilled spiritual director, in his prose writings and letters he gives practical advice on ways to reach union with God and emphasizes the importance of experienced guides to show us the road. His words and teachings are very relevant today.


In this two-part presentation, we will look at his life, his poetry, and his advice for those seeking God in a world in turmoil. The sessions will also feature meditative readings of John of the Cross' poetry in Spanish and English & meditative harp music. Both sessions will be recorded and made available to attendees. 


This program is being offered free of charge. 

Free will donations are welcome.


John of the Cross- Poet, Mystic, Spiritual Guide

August 22 and August 29, 2020

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (pacific time) via zoom

Presenter: Oliva M. Espín

Register here on Eventbrite

Oliva  M.  Espín

Oliva M. Espín, PhD, is Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at San Diego State

University, having served the institution from 1990-2007. A native of Cuba, Espín received her bachelor's degree from the Universidad de Costa Rica in 1969, and her doctoral degree from the University of Florida in 1974. Upon receipt of her doctoral degree, Espin worked as a psychotherapist, taught in Canada and at Boston University, and received a National Institute of Mental Health fellowship at Harvard University.


In addition to her many years of teaching experience, Espín’s research and advocacy work is also laudable. She has fought for refugee women to gain access to mental healthcare services, and her articles, book chapters, and books are interdisciplinary in nature, tying in psychology, social justice issues, politics and religion to raise questions about gender, sexuality, language and race barriers. Her presentations in the U.S. and the world at large are just as exciting as her classroom lectures. She has been a pioneer in introducing intersectional perspectives into Feminist Psychology. Among other books, she recently published Women, Sainthood, and Power: A Feminist Psychology of Cultural Constructions.


In the Latinx community, where religion is a large part of the culture, there is a strong stigma against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) persons. Throughout her career, Espín bravely produced an extensive multitude of publications that challenged LGBTQ issues and laid the groundwork for many other Latino/a psychologists to do the same. For her, spirituality did not negate sexual orientation/gender identification, it instead strengthened her self-care, her teaching, and her psychotherapeutic practices.