Saint Joaquina de Vedruna

Way of Life : Virgin, Spanish Nun, Founder of the Carmelite Sisters of the Charity
Patroness of : Abuse victims / Death of children / Exiles /Widows
Traditional Catholic Feastday : May 19
Modern Feastday : May 19

Saint Joaquina de Vedruna (or Joaquima, in Catalan) (16 April 1783 Р28 August 1854) was a Spanish nun, founder of the Carmelite Sisters of the Charity. She was born into a noble family. In 1799, she married the lawyer and landowner Teodoro de Mas (from Vic in the Barcelona province of Spain), with whom she had nine children. Her husband died in 1816 and she moved with her children to their estate in Vic. Here, she began her charitable activities with the sick and young women. Her spiritual director, the Capuchin Esteban de Olot, suggested she establish an apostolic congregation devoted to education and charity. The bishop of Vic, Pablo Jes̼s Corcuera, told her the institute should be of Carmelite inspiration. The same bishop wrote the rule on 6 February 1826, and 20 days later she and another 8 women professed their vows. Within the next few years, Joaquina's Carmelites founded several houses in Catalonia. During the First Carlist War (a civil war in Spain from 1833 to 1839), she had to flee from Spain because she had founded a hospital in the Carlist town of Berga that was threatened by the fighting. As a result, she went to Roussillon, France, where she stayed from 1836 to 1842.

Her apostolic congregation was definitively approved in 1850. In spite of serious challenges posed by civil war and secular opposition, the institute she founded soon spread into Catalonia. Thereafter, communities were established throughout Spain and Hispanic America. Eventually, she was forced to resign as superior of her order due to sickness; although she died during a cholera epidemic in Barcelona, she slowly succumbed to paralysis over the final four years of her life. By the time of her death in 1854 at the age of 71, Joaquina was known and admired for her high degree of prayer, deep trust in God and selfless charity. She was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1940 and was canonized in 1959.

She is buried in the Carmelites of the Charity's mother-house in Vic and her body was found to be incorrupt by the Catholic Church.

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