Of course, the timeline varies from saint to saint, as I have written here before. And, heroic virtue demands heroic circumstances, such as the experience of the distancing of God before He allows the Illumination of the soul and body in that stage.
There is an illumination before the Dark Night, but the great Illumination happens only after purgation, and for many saints, this illumination quickly moves into the Unitive State, union with God in love. See the link below.
I have already covered the Illuminative and Unitive States in the perfection series. This Dark Night series is merely a more detailed section on some posts in the perfection series. Here is only one on the Illuminative State, and only one on the Unitive State from earlier posts.
There are at least 53 posts which include references to St. John of the Cross.
I shall try and continue this mini-exploration. Would it not be wonderful if one could interview Blessed Mother Teresa on her experience of such a long, long Dark Night, especially as Catholics enter into a period of great persecution?
To be continued....