Born at Lisbon, 16 February, 1452; died at Aveiro, 12 may, 1490; the daughter of Alfonso V, King of Portugal, and his wife Elizabeth. She was chiefly remarkable for the courage and persistency with which she opposed all attempts on the part of her father and brother to make her marry. She had resolved from childhood to be the spouse of Christ and, when possible to enter the religious state; but being the next heir to the throne in default of male issue, her wish was particularly obnoxious to her family and to the country. Joanna was very beautiful and her hand was sought by several princes. Once, in her father's absence, she had to act as regent of the kingdom, and in that office is said to have shown great capacity.
After many struggles, she entered the Dominican house called the Convent of Jesus, at Aveiro, where the rule was severe and very strictly kept. For a time she was compelled, for political reasons, to leave it and go back to Court. Finally, however, she was professed; and her life in the convent was so penitential, holy, and heroically humble, that she died in the odour of sanctity, and miracles followed her decease.
F. M. CAPES