February 22

St. Margaret of Cortona

St. Margaret of Cortona

Born in 1247 A.D., Saint Margaret was born in Laviano, Italy. She wasborn to farming parents and at the tender age of seven years old, shelost her dear mother. Soon after her mother’s death, her fatherremarried.

Saint Margaret did not see eye to eye with her stepmother though. At theage of seventeen years old, she ran away with Arsenio. She stayed withhim for a total of ten years in his castle as his mistress and even borea son of his.

One day, he did not return to the castle in which they were staying.After much investigation into his disappearance, it came to light thather beloved was murdered in a forest nearby.

How did this young woman come to her faith, after experiencing suchheartache? Let’s read on and find out!

Saint Margaret’s Turn to the Church

The loss of her beloved Arsenio shook Saint Margaret to such a pointthat she took on a life of prayer and penance. Soon after his death,Saint Margaret left the castle, with her child, and attempted to returnhome to her father. Outlawed by her stepmother, Saint Margaret and herson took up living with the Franciscan friars in Cortona.

In 1277, Saint Margaret joined the Third Order of St Francis. Here, shemade the choice to live in poverty and begged for only bread andsustenance. She continued with her life of prayer and penance inCortona.

Later, Saint Margaret established a hospital in Cortona. It was herethat she looked after the sick, homeless, and impoverished people ofCortona and surrounds. To ensure there were enough nurses for therunning of the hospital, Saint Margaret established the congregation ofTertiary Sisters.

Furthermore, another order was established by Saint Margaret that wasdevoted to Our Lady of Mercy. The members of this order also devotedthemselves to supporting the hospital and helping the needy as much asthey could.

The Last Years of Saint Margaret

Only on two occasions did Saint Margaret of Cortona involve herself inpublic affairs. On both occasions, Saint Margaret challenged the Bishopof Arezzo. Why did she do this? This was simply because he lived andengaged in war like a prince. She did not agree with this and thus, tookit upon herself to challenge him.

When he refused to change his ways, Saint Margaret moved and took upresidence in the ruined church of Basil of Caesarea (now called SantaMargherita). Here, she lived her last remaining years. She passed on 22February 1297, at the age of 50 years old.


On 16 May 1728, Saint Margaret was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII. Sheis further honoured with a Lesser Feast. This feast takes place on theLiturgical calendar, 22 February, of the Episcopal Church in the UnitedStates of America.

Further honoured, the Church of Santa Margherita in Cortona was rebuilt.Her body now lays in a silver casket, under the church, embalmed.


Saint Margaret of Cortona has strong patronage for several things insociety. The patronage of Saint Margaret lay against temptations,falsely accused people, homeless people, insanity, sexual temptation,single laywomen and loss of parents. Furthermore, her patronage also laymental illness, mentally ill people, midwives, penitent women, singlemothers, people ridiculed for their pity, third children and reformedprostitutes.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Margaret of Cortona

  1. The body of Saint Margaret of Cortona was once believed to be
    incorrupt. This means that it was believed that her body had the
    divine right to avoid the process of decomposition.
  2. A 1950 biographical film was made about the life of Saint Margaret
    of Cortona. This film was directed and written by Mario Bonnard, with
    Maria Frau starring as Margaret.
  3. While at their stay with the Franciscan friars in Cortona, her son
    became a friar.
  4. Before returning to her home where she grew up, Saint Margaret
    returned all the gifts her late beloved gifted her to his family.
  5. Sinners were drawn to Saint Margaret for her advice and

Prayer to St. Margaret of Cortona

God our Father, through the intercession of Saint Margaret of Cortona,we renew our resolve to fulfil the obligation of Lenten penance. Be withus as we turn from sin and hear the Good News. This we ask throughChrist our Lord. Amen.