Saint of the Day

May 12: Blessed Jane of Portugal

If you enjoy this daily blog of lesser-known saints, see my book, which contains short biographies of saints for every day of the year.

Blessed Jane (d. 1490) was a princess of Portugal at her birth, and when her brother and mother died, she seemed to be the likely heir to her father’s throne. Despite her royalty, she lived the life of an ascetic—praying two hours late each night, wearing a hair shirt as a penance, and devoting herself to the practice of her faith.

Her father refused her repeated requests to join religious life until a successful expedition against invaders—and a younger brother and heir—made it possible. She immediately distributed all her personal possessions and left for a Dominican priory. Her family refused to let her take vows for a long time and kept trying to arrange politically expedient marriages for her, but she ultimately achieved her heart’s desire of living as a simple nun in the house and performed the same lowly tasks as every other member. She died at the age of thirty-eight and was perhaps poisoned by a disgruntled woman whom Jane had rebuked for her scandalous life.

Blessed Jane, show me how to rid my life of things that separate me from God.