Towards the second half of the 16th century, the resident of Baeza, Alonso Sánchez Chacón, hands over a farmhouse and some land that he had in what is known as the Martín Malo meadow to the friars Alonso de Coca and Diego Hernández, both disciples of Blessed Juan de Ávila. , who under the spiritual direction of Father Nuñez Marcelo create a community of religious, which soon acquired a reputation for holiness due to the rigors under which those hermits lived. The city of Baeza gives them a distribution of land of 40 bushels, gathering enough assets to, encouraged by Fray Gabriel de la Concepción, found the Convent of La Peñuela in 1573, adopting the rule of the Discalced Carmelites, which is contemporary to that of Granada. the first foundations of the Discalced Carmel in Andalusia.
Around 1578, the community was forced to move to a healthier and larger space and the construction of a new convent began a stone's throw from the old oratory (today the Hermitage of San Juan de la Cruz). They are under construction when they receive a visit from Fray Juan de la Cruz in October of that year, who is on his way to his new destination as prior of the Convent of El Calvario in Beas de Segura. From that moment a close and affective relationship will be established between La Peñuela and Juan de la Cruz, their brief stays being a refuge, a haven of peace and a spiritual desert. Here, in this uninhabited corner of the mountains, almost disconnected from everything, the Saint could not help but want to stay when he is sent by his opponents and superiors to oblivion and exile in 1591.
"Tomorrow I'm going to Úbeda to cure some fevers, which, (since they have been giving me for more than eight days and they don't go away) I think I will need medical help; but with the intention of coming back here later, which, true In this holy solitude I feel very well."
Contact with nature is a source of inspiration that is reflected in his works and writings, and here he was able to do it like nowhere else. His trail of holiness was so imprinted on these lands, that when in 1767 the German settlers arrived with Pablo de Olavide to found the New Towns of Sierra Morena and Andalusia, despite the fact that the convent was expropriated from the Carmelites and on it was built the Mayor's Palace and the chapel for the new Parish of the Immaculate is enlarged, the friars faithful to their devotion to Saint John of the Cross pass on the baton to the new settlers, who erect the Poet and Doctor of the Church as their Patron Saint and protector, constituting the first, and until very recently, the only Brotherhood under the patronage of San Juan de la Cruz.