(1783 – 1854)
Joachima’s birth into an aristocratic family of Barcelona should have guaranteed an easy life, but fate saw things another way.
Though she expressed a desire to become a Carmelite nun as early as 12 years old, she married at the age of 16 Theodore de Mas, a young lawyer. During their 17-year marriage they raised eight children, but through their devoutness became secular Franciscans.
When Napoleon invaded Spain, Joachima fled with her children leaving her husband behind to protect their home. He perished during the Napoleanic occupation and Joachima was left alone to care for the family. Having no time for frivolousness she avoided fancy clothes and donned the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis as her daily wear. The time she had at her disposal was spent in prayer and visiting the sick.
When some of her children were finally married off and also could care for their younger siblings, Joachima, with the encouragement of her priest, founded the Carmelite Sisters of Charity. During the political upheaval of that time she was imprisoned and later exiled to France.
The ravages of this time took a toll on her health and over a four-year period gradually was taken by bodily paralysis, obligating her to step down as superior of her order. Thus, the woman who spent her life caring for others was now totally dependent on others’ grace and generocity. She passed into the arms of the Lord at age 71.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from www.franciscanmedia.org