Together with Andreas Hofer and Josef Speckbacher, Father Joachim Haspinger is one of the most important leaders of the Tyrolean popular uprising against Napoleonic foreign rule in 1809.
He himself came from an ancient Tyrolean peasant dynasty and grew up in a side valley of the Pustertal which today belongs to South Tyrol. In 1802 he entered the Eppan Capuchin monastery as a novice and was ordained priest in Merano a few years later.
However, he did not find his purpose in a quiet monastic life, but much rather moved over the mountains to help out in other parishes. In this way he could stay in contact with the people of his homeland and share their simple lives.
It was always easy for him to touch them with his words and to intervene helpfully in their lives, because as a farmer’s son he spoke their dialect and knew their worries and needs.
Above all, however, he knew their pride and their consciousness, in a firm belief in God and the imperial house, to do the only right thing for their salvation.
In 1809 he was one of the first to take part in the popular uprising against the hated occupiers. He took part as one of the commanders in the two battles at Bergisel, in which the Tyrolean marksmen of Andreas Hofer crushed the French and Bavarian troops.
Eyewitnesses reported that this victory was also due to him. For he courageously stood at the forefront and encouraged his comrades-in-arms, deeply convinced in his soul of the correctness of their actions.
After the defeat of the Tyrolean People’s Army he was able to flee unrecognized, came to Vienna via detours and finally became pastor in Sankt Lampert am Heiligen Berg.
Only once more, in 1848, did he accompany a company of Tyrolean military policemen into battle, before settling in the imperial castle of Mirabell, where he died in 1858.
He found his last resting place at the side of Andreas Hofer in the Hofkirche in Innsbruck.