John of Avila
Born Jewish, John of Avila became one of the most outstanding and charismatic preachers of his time. He lived in sixteenth-century Spain during the time of the Inquisition.
John studied both law and theology before being ordained in 1525. His powerful preaching in Andalusia, Spain, converted many people to Christianity. In 1531 he was brought up before the Inquisition and jailed for a short time for preaching that the rich could not be saved.
John's letters, many of which have survived, make John a treasured writer of spirituality. John knew many other spiritual greats during his lifetime, including John of God, Teresa of Avila, and Ignatius Loyola.