Joana was the daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal and his wife, Isabella. Born in in 1452, Joana expressed at a very young age the desire to become a nun. After the death of her older brother, John, she became next in line to become ruler of Portugal, and her desires were postponed. After the birth of her younger brother, King John II of Portugal, she was no longer the presumptive heir to the throne, but was still known as Princess Joana by the Portuguese people.
While her father, the King, refused to allow Joana to become a nun, she joined the Dominican Convent of Jesus in Aveiro. She died at the convent at the age of 38, and was beatified by Pope Innocent XII in 1693. Although she was never canonized, she is known in Portugal as Santa Joana.
Today, the Convent of Jesus is the Museum of Aveiro and is the third most popular thing to do in Aveiro, according to Trip Advisor. The museum is full of beautiful artwork and also contains the tomb of Joana.
Santa Joana is much loved in Portugal. There’s a beautiful sculpture of the Princess on Avenida Santa Joana in Aveiro.
In 1953, Portugal issued a beautiful stamp of Joana, based on the painting by Nuno Gonçalves. If you visit Aveiro, it will be well worth your time to visit the Museu de Aveiro as well as the statue of Santa Joana.