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Father Charles Neale / American jesuit, "adopted" carmelite and the first English translator of San Juan de la Cruz
|San Juan de la Cruz|
FATHER CHARLES NEALE: AMERICAN JESUIT, "ADOPTED" CARMELITE AND THE FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATOR OF SAN JUAN DE LA CRUZ?
Department of Foreign Languages
Charles Neale and the Carmelite Order
The life of Charles Neale was intended to follow a carefully prescribed path from America to Europe and back. Sent as a young boy from his native Maryland to the College of Saint Omer in French Flanders, he was expected to attend seminary there and return to America a Jesuit priest. Neale crossed the Atlantic in 1760, at the age of nine, and traveled to Saint Omer’s to study for the priesthood with the end goal of returning home to support the Catholic faith, and in particular the Jesuit mission, in his native land.(1) But not long after Neale’s arrival in Flanders, events took a series of unexpected turns that would lead him to live not among Jesuits, but among Carmelite nuns, and to produce what appears to be the earliest known English-language translation of the famous Cántico espiritual of San Juan de la Cruz.