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About Joana 'a Santa' Avis de Portugal
Joana, Princess of Portugal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blessed Joan of Portugal (February 6, 1452 – May 12, 1490), known in Portugal as Saint Joan Princess (Portuguese: Santa Joana Princesa, pron. IPA: ['sɐ̃tɐ ʒu'ɐnɐ pɾĩ'sezɐ]), was a Portuguese princess of the House of Aviz, daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal and his first wife Isabel of Coimbra.
Infanta Joana of Portugal was the second child of Afonso, but after the early death of her older brother John she was – regardless of being female – declared heiress to the throne and given the title of Princess of Portugal (such title was reserved to the heir apparent; the other children of the king were styled "Infante" or "Infanta"). Even though she lost it after the birth of her younger brother, the future John II of Portugal, among the people she continued to be known as Princess Joan.
From a young age, Joan expressed a desire to become a nun; however, as she was second-in-line to the throne, her father did not allow it. During his military expedition to Tangier in 1471, Joan served as Regent of the Portuguese Kingdom. After vehemently refusing several proposals of marriage, Joan joined the Dominican Convent of Jesus in Aveiro in 1475. Her brother had, by then, been given an heir, so the family line was no longer in danger. Still, she was compelled several times to leave the convent and return to the court, before she was finally professed as a nun. She continued to be a great supporter of her brother, John II of Portugal, throughout his reign and her life.
Joan died on May 12, 1490 in Aveiro and was buried in the Convent of Jesus in Aveiro. She was beatified in 1693 by Pope Innocent XII. Until now she hasn't been canonized, but she's known in Portugal as the Princess Saint Joan.
According to Portuguese sources, her brother tried once more to force her out of the convent, in August 1485, to marry the widowed Richard III of England, who was also offering his niece Elizabeth of York as a bride for their cousin Manuel, Duke of Beja (the later King Manuel I). The story goes that he had almost worn down her resistance, when she had a prophetic dream that told her Richard III was dead. She told her brother that if the dream was false, she would agree to marry Richard - but if it was true (which it was), he was never to mention marriage to her again.