Born near Toledo, Spain, John was sent by his wealthy parents to study law in Salamanca. But, renouncing such a career, he instead lived as a hermit for three years, and was ordained in 1525, after his parents had died. Though he hoped to be a missionary in Mexico, his archbishop sent him to Andalusia, where he preached successfully for nine years. He was imprisoned briefly by the Inquisition for rigoristic preaching, then continued evangelizing for the rest of his life. Many of his letters survive. A holy priest and mystic, he was a friend of St. Ignatius Loyola and an adviser of St. Teresa of Avila and several other Spanish saints. He is a patron saint of Spain.