Margaret of Castello
|Bl. Margaret of Castello, T.O.S.D.|
Mercatello sul Metauro, Città di Castello
|Died||1320 (aged 32–33)
Città di Castello, Holy Roman Empire
|Venerated in||Roman Catholicism
|Beatified||19 October 1609 by Pope Paul V|
|Major shrine||Church of St. Dominic, Città di Castello, Perugia, Italy|
Margaret of Castello, T.O.S.D., (1287–1320) was a severely disabled, Italian Catholic woman and member of the Dominican Third Order. She became known for her deep faith and holiness. She has been beatified by the Catholic Church, and is considered the patron saint of the poor, disabled and the unwanted.
Margaret was born into a family of nobles in the Castle of Metola, near Mercatello sul Metauro, then under the rule of the autonomous town of Città di Castello (or just Castello). She was born blind, with severe curvature of the spine, had difficulty walking, and was a dwarf. Though she was hid from all by her parents, soon after she was born a kindly maid found her and gave her the name of Margaret meaning "Pearl". After nearly being discovered, her parents Parisio and Emilia imprisoned her for 13 years in a room attached to the family chapel so no one would see her, though she could attend Mass and receive the sacraments. She was taught the Catholic faith by the family chaplain there.
When she was about twenty, Margaret's parents took her to a shrine in the Franciscan church 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, being passed from one family to another. She lived in prayer and charity, helping the poor and prisoners. She was eventually given hospitality in a local monastery of nuns. Their lax way of life, however, soon conflicted with Margaret's intense spirituality and she was expelled from the monastery. She then took up residence in the town, where the townsfolk resumed caring for her. To thank them for their kindness, Margaret opened a small school for the children of the town, where she instructed them in the faith, and the psalms, which she had learned by heart from her time with the nuns.
About the age of fifteen, Margaret came to know the friars of the Dominican Order who had recently become established in the town. She came under their spiritual guidance, and was admitted to the local fraternity of the Third Order of St. Dominic, receiving the religious habit of the Order. She wore this for the rest of her life.
When Margaret died at the age of 33, crowds at her funeral demanded she be buried inside the church, against the resistance of the priest. After a disabled girl was miraculously cured at the funeral, he allowed Margaret's burial inside.
In 1558, Margaret's remains were transferred because her coffin was rotten. Her clothes were also rotten, but her body was preserved. Her cultus was recognized by Pope Paul V in an equivalent beatification on October 19, 1609.
- "The history of Little Margaret of Castello". Blessed Margaret of Castello Guild and Shrine.
- "The Life of Blessed Margaret of Castello by Fr William Bonniwell".
- "Bl. Margaret of Castello". Catholic Online.
- "Blessed Margaret of Castello". CatholicSaints.Info.