Saint Margaret of Hungary
|Saint Margaret of Hungary, O.P.|
"The Death of Saint Margaret" by Jozsef Molnar (1857)
|Born||January 27, 1242
Klis Fortress, Klis
Kingdom of Croatia
|Died||January 18, 1271
Kingdom of Hungary
|Roman Catholic Church
|Beatified||July 28, 1789 by Pope Pius VI|
|Canonized||November 19, 1943 by Pope Pius XII|
|Attributes||A lily and a book|
Saint Margaret, O.P., (January 27, 1242 – January 18, 1271) was a Dominican nun and the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was the younger sister of St. Kinga of Poland (Kunegunda) and the Blessed Yolanda of Poland and, through her father, the niece of the famed Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
Margaret was born in Klis Fortress in the Kingdom of Croatia, the eighth and last daughter (9th of 10 children) of the royal couple. They resided there during the Mongol invasion of Hungary (1241–42) as her father was also ruler of this land. Her parents vowed that if Hungary was liberated from the Mongols, they would dedicate the child to religion.
The four-year-old Margaret was entrusted by her parents to the Dominican monastery at Veszprém in 1245. Six years later she was transferred to the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin founded by her parents on Nyulak Szigete (Rabbit Island) near Buda (today Margaret Island, named after her, and a part of Budapest; the ruins of the monastery can still be seen). She spent the rest of her life there, dedicating herself to religion and opposing all attempts of her father to arrange a political marriage for her with King Ottokar II of Bohemia. She appears to have taken solemn vows when she was eighteen years old.
Much of the details of her life are known from the Legend of Saint Margaret, written probably in the 14th century and translated from Latin to Hungarian in the 15th. The only remaining copy of the legend is in the Margaret Codex copied by the Dominican nun Lea Ráskay around 1510. According to the legend, Margaret chastised herself from early childhood, wore an iron girdle, hairshirts and shoes spiked with nails. She later also performed the dirtiest tasks in the monastery.
She was venerated as a saint soon after her death, e.g., a church dedicated to her in Bocfolde, Zala county, appears in documents dated 1426. Steps were taken to procure her canonization shortly after her death, at the request of her brother King Stephen V. The necessary investigations were taken up between 1271 and 1276, but the canonization process was not successful, even though seventy-four miracles were ascribed to her intercession, most of them referring to curing illnesses, even someone coming back from the dead. Among those giving testimony were twenty-seven people for whom miracles had been wrought. Unsuccessful attempts to canonize her were also made in 1640 and 1770. She was finally canonized by Pope Pius XII on 19 November 1943, at that time the feast day of her aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
Her monastery was among those suppressed in 1782, part of the suppression of all monastic Orders by the Emperor Joseph II. At that time, her remains were given to the Poor Clares. They were kept in Pozsony (today Bratislava) and Buda. The relics were partly destroyed in 1789 but some portions were preserved and are now kept in Esztergom, Győr, and Pannonhalma.
|Ancestors of Saint Margaret of Hungary|
- "Klis –vrata Dalmacije" [Klis – A gateway to Dalmatia] (PDF). Građevinar (in Croatian) (Zagreb: Croatian Society of Civil Engineers) 53 (9): 605–611. September 2001. ISSN 0350-2465. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.
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