Farmer's daughter. Her mother died when Margaret was seven years old, and her stepmother considered her a nuisance. Eloped with a young nobleman from Montepulciano, bore him a son, and lived as his mistress for nine years. In 1274 he was murdered by brigands, and his body dumped in a shallow grave. Margaret saw the incident as a sign from God. She publicly confessed to the affair, and tried to return to her father's house; he would not accept her. She and her son took shelter with the Friars Minor at Cortona. Still young and attractive, Margaret sometimes had trouble resisting temptation, but each incident was followed by periods of deep self-loathing. To make herself unappealing to local young men, she once tried to mutilate herself, but was stopped by a Friar named Giunta. She earned her keep by tending to sick women. She later began caring for the sick poor, living on alms, asking nothing for her services. Became a Franciscan tertiary in 1277. Margaret developed an deep and intense prayer life, and was given to ecstacies during which she received messages from heaven. In 1286 she received charter to work with the sick poor. She gathered others of like mind, and formed them into tertiaries. They were later given the status of a congregation, and called the Poverelle (Poor Ones). Founded a hospital at Cortona. Preached against vice to any who would listen. Developed a great devotion to the Eucharist and Passion. Prophesied the date of her own death.
1247 at Loviano, Tuscany, Italy
22 February 1297 at Cortona
1728 by Pope Benedict XIII
Against temptations, falsely accused people, hoboes, homeless people, insanity, loss of parents, mental illness, mentally ill people, midwives, penitent women, people ridiculed for their piety, reformed prostitutes, sexual temptation, single laywomen, tertiaries, tramps.
Open Directory Project links to sites devoted to or with information about Saint Margaret.
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