Margaret of Castello

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Blessed Margaret of Castello (1287–1320) is an Italian Roman Catholic Church patron of the poor, crippled, and the unwanted. She was born blind, lame, deformed, hunchbacked and a dwarf, into a family of nobles in the castle of Metola, in southeast of Florence. Soon after she was born a kindly maid took her in and gave her the name of Margaret meaning "Pearl". After nearly being discovered, her parents Parisio and Emilia imprisoned her for 13 years so no one would see her, though she could attend Mass and receive the sacraments. When she was 20 her parents took her to a shrine in Castello, where miracles were reportedly being wrought, to pray for a cure for her birth defects. When no miracle happened, they abandoned her. The poor of the city took her in as one of their own. She lived in prayer and charity, helping the poor and prisoners. When she died at the age of 33, crowds at her funeral demanded she be buried inside the church. After a crippled girl was miraculously cured at the funeral, the priest allowed Margaret's burial inside.

A relic of Margaret of Castello on display for veneration at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio, a parish which houses a shrine to her.

In 1558, Margaret's remains were transferred because her coffin was rotten. Her clothes were also rotten, but her body was preserved. She was beatified on October 19, 1609 by Pope Paul V. Her canonization is pending.

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