Jane of Portugal

Portuguese princes, Dominican sister
6 February 1452 - 12 May 1490

 A brief biography.


Jane (or Joana, Joan) of  Portugal, first daughter of King Afonso V (15.01.1432-18.08.1481) and Isabella was born in Lisbon on 06.02.1452. Her father thought she could become queen, if her frail brother did not survive. When she was 16, she wanted a life as a religious.
The King was not unappreciative of her religious disposition, and was willing to permit her to live a secluded life in the palace.

In 1471, Afonso and his son embarked on a military expedition against the Moors in Africa. The King appointed Jane to rule the country during his absence. Apparently she handled the task very capably.


On their victorious return, she ventured to ask her father once more for permission to enter the Dominican 'Convent of Jesus' at Aveiro. This time he did make a minor concession. She might indeed go to Aveiro to live, but she could not take vows or give up control of her properties. Jane accepted the arrangement as dutifully as ever. At least part of her desire had been granted. The rest she left up patiently to divine providence. Giving up her personal possessions in 1473, she entered the Dominican 'Convent of Jesus'.  

She did not take vows or even receive the habit at that time, but lived a simple, prayerful life according to the stringent rule of the monastery. One good thing about her not taking the vow of poverty at once,  was that she was able to devote her personal income to worthy causes. Afonso died in 1461 and was succeeded by his son John II, who ruled until 1496.


John had no children, but other means were found to continue the dynasty. The royal princess had finally been able to take her vows in 1485.

She died on 12.05.1490 and was buried in the church of the convent, now a museum. She was laid in a tomb by Joao Antunes (16e century). She is patroness of the city Aveiro.


In 1693 Pope Innocent XII confirmed the title of "blessed" that popular piety had bestowed on her. In 1959 the process for her canonization was opened.




On the stamp:
quinto centenãrio do nascimento da Princesa Santa Johana


The portrait is derived from a picture by an artist
of the school of Nunio Gonzalves, 2
nd middle 15th century.


Portugal 1953, Mi 813, Sc 782. Maximum card.




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