Less than two weeks after her feast day on April 12 this year, St. Margaret of Castello was declared a saint by Pope Francis under special circumstances. Although the life of this new saint is highly inspiring, not many Catholics know much about her. If you find yourself amongst this group, you’ve come to the right place.
Are you ready to meet this extraordinary 14th century saint born into a noble family who was abandoned by her parents? If so, here are five things you should know about St. Margaret of Costello.
She was born with physical disabilities
St. Margaret was born blind and had multiple curvatures on her back that made it difficult for her to walk. She was also born with what we now called dwarfism. Her parents—seemingly ashamed by her disabilities due to their status in society—prayed for her miraculous healing from multiple physical ailments (more on this later). Because of her conditions, she is now considered the patroness of blind and disabled people as well as a patroness of the pro-life movement.
Her parents abandoned
St. Margaret knew the sting of constant rejection. Her parents wanted a son yet they got a daughter who had physical disabilities. They even went far enough to keep her in a secluded part of their castle so that no one would ever see her or even know she existed as they had told everyone she had died at childbirth. When she was sixteen, they took her to a shrine in Citta di Castello in hopes for a miraculous healing.
When they saw that their prayers would not be answered the way they wanted, they abandoned her and left her in the streets of the city, never to see her again. The poor townspeople ended up pitching in to take care of her until nuns took her in to their convent. Unfortunately, they too ended up kicking her out of their convent whereupon the poor once again began taking care of her. They continued to do so until her death.
She had a heart for children and the less fortunate
She loved children and even set up a school for them. St. Margaret was known to look after the children of the townspeople who worked and had no one to look after their little ones. She used to teach children about the faith at the school she began for them. Furthermore, she loved to help others who were less fortunate. She did what she could to take care of the sick and dying and even went to visit prisoners at the local jail. Although she herself was to be a “beggar” for the rest of her life, it was the poor who had endeared themselves to her (and vice versa) who made sure she had a roof over her head and provided for her as best as they could as well.
She was a Third Order Dominican
The convent where was she briefly taken into was a Dominican convent. She later met Dominican friars and became a lay Dominican. She even wore the Dominican habit every single day until her death.
It took over 300 years after her beatification to be declared a saint
While she had been beatified in 1609 by Pope Paul V, she wasn’t officially declared a Saint until April 24, 2021 by Pope Francis using a process known as “equipollent” canonization. Unlike most saints who need a minimum of two miracles to be canonized a saint, it wasn’t the case for St. Margaret. She had an “equivalent” canonization in which the requirements of a miracle were waived since the three requirements for the equivalent canonization: 1. a long-standing cult, 2. a reputation for virtue, and 3. there has been a history of miracles attributed) were fulfilled.
Of course, there’s more to her story than what is written in this article. Her story could’ve been tragic but she didn’t allow her circumstances to keep her down. I highly recommend learning more about this extraordinary young woman who loved God and others despite knowing pain and rejection from those closest to her. St. Margaret of Castello, pray for us
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