Teresa of Portugal (1178-1250)
Feast Day: June 17
Canonized: May 20, 1705
Born a princess in 1178, Teresa was the eldest daughter of King Sancho I of Portugal. She married her cousin, King Alfonso IX of Leon, Spain. The couple had three children, but the marriage was declared invalid because of consanguinity.
She returned to Portugal and converted a Benedictine monastery in Lorvao into a convent for 300 Cistercian nuns. Though she did not take vows, Teresa moved into the convent. In 1231, at the request of Alfonso’s second wife and widow, Queen Berengaria of Castille, Teresa was called upon to settle a dispute between her children over the succession of the throne of Leon. She settled the dispute by allowing Ferdinand III of Castille, Berengaria’s eldest son, to take the throne. After securing the peace, Teresa returned to the convent at Lorvao, where she took religious vows and lived the rest of her life as a nun. She died in the convent of natural causes at age 71.
Pope Clement XI canonized Teresa along with her sister, Sancha of Portugal. Her other sister, Mafalda of Portugal, was beatified in 1792