14.4.08

Blessed Margaret of Castello


Blessed Margaret of Citta-di-Castello, Virgin It must have been about
the year 1293 when some women of Citta-di-Castello in Umbria, who had
gone one day to pray in their parish church, found within, a destitute
blind child of about six or seven, who had been abandoned there by her
parents. The kind souls were filled with pity for the little waif,
and, poor though they were, they took charge of her-first one family
and then another, sheltering and feeding her until she became
practically the adopted child of the village. One and all declared
that, far from being a burden, little Margaret brought a blessing upon
those who befriended her. Some years later, the nuns of a local
convent offered her a home. The girl rejoiced at the prospect of
living with religious, but her joy was short-lived. The community was
lax and worldly; Margaret's fervor was a tacit reproach to them, nor
did she bring them the profit they had anticipated. Neglect was
succeeded by petty persecution, and then by active calumny. Finally
she was driven forth ignominiously to face the world once more.

However, her old friends rallied around her. One couple offered her a
settled home, which became her permanent residence. At the age of
fifteen, Margaret received the habit of a tertiary from the Dominican
fathers, who had lately established themselves in Citta-di-Castello,
and thence forth, she lived a life entirely devoted to God. More than
ever did God's benediction rest upon her. She cured another tertiary
of an affliction of the eyes which had baffled medical skill, and her
mantle extinguished a fire which had broken out in her foster parents'
house.

In her desire to show her gratitude to the people of
Citta-di-Castello, she undertook to look after the children while
their parents were at work. Her little school prospered wonderfully,
for she understood children, being very simple herself. She set them
little tasks which she helped them to perform; she instructed them in
their duty to God and to man, instilling into them her own great
devotion to the sacred Childhood, and she taught them the psalms
which, inspite of her blindness, she had learned by heart at the
convent. We are told that when at prayer she was frequently raised a
foot or more from the ground, remaining thus for a long time. Thus she
lived, practically unknown outside her own neighborhood, until the age
of thirty-three, when she died amidst the friends who loved her, and
was buried by their wish in the parish church, where many remarkable
miracles took place. The cult of Blessed Margaret was confirmed in 1609.

Died 1320 of natural causes;
Her body is incorrupt
Beatified 19 October 1609 by Pope Paul V
Commemorated April 13

Patronage: the unwanted, babies in danger of abortion

In art, Margaret is shown as a Dominican tertiary holding a cross,
lily, and heart with two flames offered to the crucifix; clothed with
the Dominican habit which consisted of a white tunic, leather belt,
and long, white veil

Dieu Le Roy
De Brantigny

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