Monday, February 14, 2011

BEATA MARGARITA DE CITTA-DI-CASTELLO: Virgin & Tertiary

BEATA MARGARITA DE CITTA-DI-CASTELLO
1287-1320
Virgin & Tertiary



            Born in Metola on 1287, Margaret was born a dwarf, hunchback, lame and blind.  She was kept hidden by her parents throughout her childhood.  When she was 16, she was taken from Metola to the miraculous shrine at Citta-di-Castello, where a cure was anticipated.  Unfortunately, no miracle occurred, and it is recorded that the child was left abandoned.

            She was cared for by various poor families of the city and earned money for her board by attending to small children.  Her cheerfulness, based on trust and love of God, endeared her to everyone.  Finally, the family of our Father Dominic welcomed her into the Third Order with open arms.  She became, by her radiant charity, a source of hope and consolation for the poor, the outcast, the sick and the imprisoned, to whom she ministered tirelessly.

            At last her heavenly Spouse called her to eternal nuptials on April 13, 1320 at the age of 33.  After her death, more than two hundred miracles occurred in confirmation of her heroic sanctity.

            The preliminary steps toward the cause of her beatification were undertaken by the Dominican Order, but at various times it languished, until it was almost forgotten.  During the sixteenth century, interest in her cause was rekindled after the discovery of her incorrupt and perfectly preserved body.  On June 9, 1558, the bishop authorized the transfer of the Beata’s remains to a new coffin after it was noticed that the original one was rotting away.

Many miracles followed this ceremony, and the cause, which was undertaken with renewed interest, came to a successful conclusion on October 19, 1609, when the Church, led by Pope Paul V officially recognized Margaret’s sanctity, pronouncing her a beata and designating April 13 as her feastday.

            The body of Beata Margarita so miserably deformed in life, remained perfectly intact and incorrupt in death and lies under the High Altar of the Church of San Domenico at Citta-di-Castello, Italy.  The arms of the body are still flexible, the eyelashes are present, and the nails are in place on the hands and feet.  The colour has darkened slightly and the skin is dry and somewhat hardened, but by all standards the preservation can be considered a remarkable condition, having endured for over six hundred seventy years.


FEASTDAY:  APRIL 13



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