St. Beatrice was one 11 children born to Portuguese nobility in Cuerta, Portugal, in 1424. She was the daughter of the Count of Viana, and the sister of St. Amadeus of Portugal. She was raised in the household of the future Queen Isabel of Portugal and spent some time in her royal court in Castile following the queen’s marriage to John II.
At the ire of Queen Isabel, jealous of Beatrice’s beauty, Beatrice was imprisoned in a cell. During her time there, the young woman was visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who instructed her to establish a new religious order.
Beatrice escaped her confinement and took refuge at the Dominican Second Order monastery of nuns in Toledo, where she lived for 37 years. In 1484, she took possession of a house in Toledo and began the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where she lived and served as superior until her death on September 1, 1490. Her remains are still venerated in the chapel there.
St. Beatrice was canonized in 1976 by Pope Paul VI. She is the patron saint of prisoners.
Catholic News Agency