Joaquima Vedruna Vidal de Mas was born on 16 April 1783 in Barcelona to the nobles Lorenzo de Vedruna – who worked for the government – and Teresa Vidal. Her parents raised their eight children to be very proper and perfect little aristocrats, and never dreamed that their fifth child, little Joaquima, was anything out of the ordinary.
Joaquima was a lively and affectionate little girl, with the typically generous enthusiasm that one finds in children. She also had a fairly normal attraction to the traditional piety of the times. At the tender age of twelve, she insisted that she needed to enter the cloistered Carmelite convent, and was surprised to be turned down. Her childhood was a pious one and she fostered a special devotion to the Infant Jesus while being known for her obsessive cleanliness and she made her First Communion in 1792.
On 24 March 1799 she married the barrister and landowner Teodoro de Mas (the firstborn of his own household) with whom she had nine children; both husband and wife later became members of the Third Order of Saint Francis and she became known as “Joaquima of Saint Francis of Assisi”. Unfortunately they were not blessed with the stability of earlier times. Spain was drawn into the vortex of war and revolution when Napoleon led his French troops south in a wave of conquest. For safety, Teodoro moved his family from Barcelona to his birthplace of Vich, and then joined the Spanish forces fighting to defend their homeland. Joaquima and her children managed to avoid columns of hostile soldiers, giving the credit to divine protection and intervention. But the vicious conflict broke all bounds of violence and bloodshed, and no one in Spain would ever be the same again.Read More »