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April 13

St Margaret of Castello - April 13

Saint Margaret of Castello
Lay Sister
(1287 – 1320)

“Oh, If you only knew what I have in my heart!”

Saint Margaret of Castello

Her Early Years

Margaret was born in Mercatello sul Metauro, Pesaro-Urbino, Italy in 1287 to her noble parents, Parisio and Emilia, in the Metola Castle. She was born blind with a severe curvature of the spine, had difficulties walking and she was also a dwarf. She was baptized as Margarita (pearl), but they did not thank God for the gift. After her parents took their first look at their handicapped child, they thought she should never have been born. So, ashamed, they hid Margaret away behind thick walls, keeping her out of sight, as if she did not exist.

Hid Away as a Child

So, ashamed, they hid Margaret away behind thick walls, keeping her out of sight, as if she did not exist. For the first six years of her life, they kept her below stairs, concealing her among the many servants in their castle so that they didn’t have to acknowledge Margaret as their own child.

However, when she was about six years old, Margaret accidentally made her presence known to a guest. Determined to keep her out of the public eye, her father, Parisio, had a room without a door built onto the side of the parish church and walled Margaret inside this room. At this time, For ten years Margaret lived shut off from her family, having minimal communication through a stone wall.

Here, Margaret lived until she was sixteen, never being allowed to come out. Her food and other necessities were passed in to her through a window. Another window into the church allowed her to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion. A parish priest became her only friend. Through a small hatch, he taught her about God, the sacraments, and the mystical life. He was amazed at her docility and the depth of her spiritual wisdom.

Abandonded

When Margaret was sixteen years old, her parents heard of a shrine in Citta di Castello, Italy, where many sick people were cured. They made a pilgrimage to the shrine so that they could pray for healing. Since the miracle failed, they callously abandoned their daughter in the streets of Castello and returned to their home.

Margaret was passed from family to family until she was adopted by Venturino and his wife, Grigia, who received her with great kindness, and she passed the rest of her life with them. Although owing to her blindness she had never learnt to read, Margaret used to assist and instruct the sons of Venturino and Grigia in preparing their daily tasks for school.

Miracles

A number of miracles were performed by Blessed Margaret.

One day Margaret was praying in her room at the top of the house when the kitchen took fire. In her distress, Grigia called Margaret, who left her prayers and threw her cloak down saying, “Don’t be afraid, Signora Grigia, throw this over the fire and it will go out.” Grigia obeyed her. The fire was extinguished quicker than if a river of water had been turned into it. All the people saw that the power of God.

At another time, Margaret cured a sister who was losing her eyesight.

Domincan Lay Sister

Later, Margaret was received as a Dominican Tertiary (Lay Sister) and clothed with the religious habit. Grigia’s home became the rendezvous site of troubled souls seeking Margaret’s prayers. She said the Office of the Blessed Virgin and the entire Psalter by heart, and her prayers had the effect of restoring peace of mind to the troubled.

Denied earthly sight, Margaret was favored with heavenly visions. “Oh, if you only knew what I have in my heart!” she often said. The mysteries of the rosary, particularly the joyful mysteries, were so vivid to her that her whole person would light up when she described the scene. She was often in ecstasy, and, despite great joys and favors in prayer, she was often called upon to suffer desolation and interior trials of frightening sorts. The devil tormented her severely at times, but she triumphed over these sufferings.

Her favorite subjects of meditation were the delivery of the Virgin Mary, the birth of Christ, and the service of St. Joseph during the flight into Egypt and his return. She devoted her time to prayer and acts of charity, becoming an inspiration to all who encountered her. Her life was marked by a deep sense of humility, trust in God’s plan, and unwavering faith, despite her physical challenges.

Her Death

Beloved by her adopted family and by her neighbors and friends, Margaret died at the early age of 33 on April 13, 1320 in Città di Castello, Perugia, Italy. When she died, the townspeople thronged her funeral, and demanded she be buried in a tomb inside the church. The priest protested, but a crippled girl was miraculously cured at the funeral, and he consented.

The rulers of the town decided that Margaret ought to be embalmed. This operation was attended by miracles, the most remarkable of which was that her heart was found to contain three precious stones. Inside her heart were found three pearls on which appeared to be carved religious symbols, and the images of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and St Joseph.

In art, Margaret is pictured as a Dominican tertiary holding a cross, lily, and heart with two flames offered to the crucifix.

Born :                   1287 in Mercatello sul Metauro, Pesaro-Urbino, Italy

Died:                    April 13, 1320 in Città di Castello, Perugia, Italy

Beatified:            October 19, 1609 by Pope Paul V

Canonized:         April 24, 2021 by Pope Francis (equipollent canonization)

Feast Day:          April 13

Patron Saint:    Against Poverty; Blind People; Disabled People; Handicapped People; People Rejected By Religious Orders; Right To Life Groups

Source:

Reflection 

Despite being born blind and with other physical disabilities, Saint Margaret of Castello did not allow her limitations to define her. Instead, she embraced her challenges as opportunities to grow closer to God and to inspire others through her example of perseverance and courage. Her life reminds us that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, God’s grace can empower us to overcome adversity and find strength in our weaknesses.

What physical disabilities do you have? How can you embrace your challenge today growing closer to God while inspiring others through your example of perseverance?

 

Prayers

Saint Margaret of Castello,

You who, despite physical disabilities and societal rejection, remained steadfast in your faith and love for God.

Intercede for us in prayer so that we may emulate your virtues and draw closer to God.

Help us to see the beauty in every soul and to extend love and forgiveness to all, just as you did.

Inspire us to reach out to those who are marginalized and oppressed.

May your example of holiness continue to shine brightly and lead us closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Saint Margaret of Castello, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – The saint who was abandoned by her own parents

All Saints & Martyrs – Blessed Margaret of Castello – Religious

Catholic News Agency – Pope Francis declares blind 14th-century lay Dominican a saint

Catholic News World – Saint April 13 : Blessed Margaret of Castello

Catholic Online – Bl. Margaret of Castello

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Blessed Margaret of Citta di Castello – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Melanie Rigney – Margaret of Castello

Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | St. Margaret of Castello

Roman Catholic Saints – Blessed Margaret of Castello

Saint for a Minute – Saint Margaret of Castello

Saint Margaret of Castello Shrine

Video Link

The Life Of Saint Margaret Of Castello – YouTube (Catholic 365)