St. Joaquina Verunda de Mas (1783-1854)
Feast Day – May 22nd
Joaquina was born from a noble family on April 16, 1783 in Barcelona Spain. When she was 12, she expressed a desire to become a Carmelite nun. However, at the age of 16, she married, Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him eight or nine children. Both Joaquina and Theodore became devout secular Franciscans. Theodore died in 1816 at the age of forty-two years old. For seven years, Joaquina devoted her time to her children, prayer, and to waiting on the sick in the local hospital. During this time, she wore the Franciscan tertiary habit and lived a life of mortification and poverty.
Once most of her children were grown and taking care of the smallest ones, Joaquina spoke to Fr. Stephen of Olot about her desire for religious life. He told her she was destined to belong to a new congregation devoted to teaching the young and nursing the sick. Six years later, she was clothed with the religious habit by the bishop of Vich, Mgr Paul Corcuera who put the new congregation under the invocation of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Fr Stephen drew up the rule and the community started with six members. The new order spread throughout Catalonia.
Several times when at prayer in the chapel the sisters saw her lifted from the floor in ecstasy, her head ringed with light. Beginning in 1850 she began to suffer a slowly progressing paralysis which she suffered with for four years. For the last few months of her life she could not move or speak. She succumbed to an attack of cholera on August 28, 1854. Descendants of Joaquina and twenty-five Carmelites of Charity were among the victims of secularist terrorism in Spain in 1936. She was beatified on May 19, 1940 and was canonized on April 12, 1959 by Pope John XXIII. She is the patron saint of abuse victims, death of children, exiles, widows.
Last content update 05/03/09