Birds flying from trees
Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Franciscan Saints: Margaret of Cortona

May 16, 2022
painting of saint margaret of cortona
Friars of the 13th century urged this holy woman to embark on a public crusade to call sinners to conversion.

Third Order Franciscan
(1247–1297)

St. Margaret was raised in a poor family in Tuscany. Following the death of her mother when Margaret was just 11, a new stepmother turned her out of the house. Eventually, with few apparent options, she eloped with a young nobleman, who kept her as his mistress. Though she bore him a son, he would not marry her.

When he was eventually murdered, Margaret took this as a sign of God’s judgment on her life. Penniless, she returned to her father’s house, but he would not take her in. Now homeless as well as destitute, she made her way to Cortona, where she had heard of the compassion of the Franciscan friars. She introduced herself by walking through town with a rope around her neck, a sign of her penitence.

The friars quickly urged her to quit this spectacle and also curbed her proclivity for extremes of asceticism. Eventually she was accepted as a Franciscan tertiary. With other women she formed a nursing community, caring for the sick and the poor.

Nevertheless, stories of her former life continued to generate gossip. She observed, “I see more Pharisees among Christians than surrounded Pilate.” Over time, as reports spread of her holiness and her purported miracles, as well as her private colloquies with Christ, Margaret attracted more positive attention. The Franciscans urged her to embark on a public crusade to call sinners to conversion.

Penitents from all over Italy, and as far away as France and Spain, made their way to Cortona to hear her spiritual discourses. She died on February 22, 1297. She was canonized in 1728.


Show now that thou art converted; call others to repentance….
The graces I have bestowed on thee are not
meant for thee alone.

A message from God to St. Margaret of Cortona


Get to know these other Franciscan saints!

The Franciscan Saints: Bonaventure

The Franciscan Saints: Marianne Cope

The Franciscan Saints: Maximilian Kolbe

The Franciscan Saints: Franz Jägerstätter


Franciscan Saints

Comments

Mike Reininger
Mon, 05/16/2022 - 11:20 AM
Mike Reininger
What an interesting saint. I think many people today can identify with her. I wonder what her boyfriend was murdered for. If she blamed herself, I don't think she should have. Maybe seeing her dead boyfriend brought home to her the existence of sin since many people pooh-pooh the seriousness of sin. It's been said that one sin always follows another. Yes, if we're not careful, we can create a hell on earth in our own lives. Maybe seeing the shock of her son being without a father and her son's grief shook her up. She obviously loved her boyfriend for whatever it was worth. It's an interesting story.

Add new comment