» Famous Melancholics

St. John

It has been suggested elsewhere (Tim LaHaye) that St. John the evangelist and the beloved disciple was melancholic-phlegmatic. There is some evidence for this proposal. He was the beloved disciple, the one who laid his head on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper, the only one who remained at the crucifixion, and the one to whom Jesus entrusted his mother. His was the mystical vision recorded in Revelations. His writing—of all the four gospels—is the most poetic, deeply mystical. “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32) is appropriately written by an idealistic, truth-loving melancholic would. 

John Henry Newman

In a famous quote about the personality of John Henry Newman, a contemporary was bemused to note that someone so virtuous, so dedicated to Christ and the Church, could be so depressing. Apparently, he had an air of heaviness or gloom about him, and was often tongue-tied even with those close to him. He was shy and sometimes considered to be aloof, though on occasion he would even apologize—in writing—that he was sorry he could not find anything to say to his fellow priests. 

Saint Padre Pio (Melancholic-Choleric)

As a young child, he was always very serious, devout and pious, and could not stand to hear a profane word or even see someone working on Sunday (when he was about 7 years old he chastised an older girl for doing needlework on Sunday). “Even as a child he had in many ways the maturity of an adult” ( Padre Pio, The Wonder Worker, p 9 Massachusetts: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, 1999) He showed, even from the time of being a small child, an uncompromising attitude toward sin. As a small child, he would take his books with him to the pastures where he was watching the family sheep. He would eat his lunch with the manners of a gentleman—spreading his napkin across his knees like a tablecloth, even out in the fields.

Famous Melancholics

“Pistol Pete”, Marovich, Sylvia Plath, Eeyore