| By Candace Bryant-Lester

St. Margaret of Castello

(1287-1320) | Feast: April 13

Margaret of Castello was canonized a saint by Pope Francis 701 years after her death. She is a model not only for undying faith in the Lord, but also that all life has value.

Margaret was born blind with dwarfism and physical ailments that left her with severe scoliosis and nearly unable to walk. These deformities left her prominent Italian parents scrambling to hide her from the world, so Margaret knew only the confines of her walled-up room beside a chapel, where she received religious instruction and grew in faith until young adulthood. Her parents heard of miracle healings in CittĂ  di Castello, so they took Margaret there in search of a miracle that would heal their imperfect child. There would be no miracle, however, and so they abandoned Margaret there. Locals cared for Margaret and eventually she was sheltered by Dominican nuns.

Margaret was grateful to the townspeople who were so kind to her, and dedicated herself to looking after local children while their parents were working, taking the opportunity to give them age-appropriate tasks and instructing them in faith and duty to loving God and neighbor. She also tended to the sick, comforted the dying and visited prisoners, using her own trials to lead by faithful example. Despite her own extreme challenges in life, she still dedicated herself to loving everyone put in her path.

Margaret eventually became a lay Dominican. She was given the habit of the order, which she wore every day. She died at the age of 33, and the crowd at her funeral demanded she be buried in the church rather than the courtyard. Her remains still lie beneath the altar of the Church of St. Dominic in Castello.

Margaret was beatified in 1609 and canonized in 2021 by Pope Francis.