January 21, 2011
Over at Conversion Diary (a fellow Catholic's blog) I found a true gem of a post. It's called the Saint's Name Generator, and it was posted around New Years with the premise that you can journey the year with a particular saint that is 'chosen for you'. Check it out - my husband and I both did and the saints which came up were very poignant saints for each of us.

It was definitely 'my saint' that prompted me to write this post.

So there I was - sitting there spinning the 'saint wheel' - thinking "oh boy, I hope I get a GOOD saint". First lesson in humility - failed! All saints are good - what I was actually saying to myself was, "I hope the saint chosen for me is an important, knowledgeable, intelligent saint that has much to say to me about myself".

Photo credit

Well, I got my wish. Blessed Margaret of Castello spoke to me very clearly about myself. My immediate reaction when I saw her name was "ok, vaguely heard of her, kinda boring, I want to choose another one".

Could I get any more un-humble?

No I couldn't.

But I convinced myself to just click on the link which told the story of Blessed Margaret's life, and out poured a heartache of a story about an ugly, blind, lame, forgotten girl who's parents quite literally abandoned her, not just once, but several times during her life. Her parents (being beautiful and well-reknowned, nobility sorts) refused to even name their hunchback daughter. So, as any parent is wont to do, they gave her to one of the servants who raised her for 6 years. Then, after a visitor almost discovered her in their home, her father walled her up into a small, two-windowed cell that was attached to a very small church where she spent 13 years.

13. Years.

Walled up.

And even hundreds of years after her death, she is still unimportant to me! *shakes head*

Her story does not end there though. Margaret's life positively oozes with saintliness. From her earliest years, she learned to pray and loved communing with the Lord. The parish priest realized she had "a brilliant mind that was hungry for the things of God" and so he taught her and she grew rapidly in knowledge, faith and devotion. At 19 years of age, with an attack on their home and town looming, her father took her out of her walled cell and brought her with the family to a safer town, only to throw her back into another underground vault to be forgotten about once more.

After a few years there, Margaret's parents heard of the tomb of a Franciscan Friar where many people had been cured of illnesses. They decided to take a trip there to see if Fra Giacomo would "work" for their daughter - and pushed her out into the sea of pilgrims hoping for healing. When nothing happened, mother and father took off and went home without her.

Yeah, you read that right. They left their girl in a church and cleared out.

Can you guess what she did then? Went into psychotherapy for anger issues and to combat the effects of her parents actions on her self-esteem??


The 4-foot crippled hunchback eventually joined the Third Order of Saint Dominic and devoted her small and humble life to serving the poor and marginalized people of Castello. Amidst reports of levitation and extraordinary miracles, little Margaret was often found hobbling around bringing food, clothing and medicine, especially to prisoners who were particularly ill-treated.

She died at the age of 33 in 1320 and her incorrupt body is housed still in Castello. Hundreds of miracles have been attributed to Blessed Margaret's intercession, including a crippled child's healing at her funeral bier.

By this time, I was awed by the beauty and grace unexpectedly present in her life story. Blessed Margaret has inspired me to look deeper into myself to root out prideful judgement of others, but also to look deeper into the brothers and sisters whom I don't find particularly attractive in looks or attitude. She's humbled me...and although being humbled smarts a bit, these moments are gifts from God showing a person where they should do some work on themselves.

I'm thankful and grateful to God - not only for the fact that my parents didn't abandon me - but for the example of Blessed Margaret's life. She likely would not have been given life had she been concieved today and humanity would have been deprived of such a lovely, and loving, woman.

Account of Blessed Margaret of Castello's life read from Priests for Life website:http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimony/castello.html


  1. I'm crying reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing this. Beauty comes in unimagined and unlooked for packages.

  2. Hi -- I got her as my saint this year. Thanks for writing this post!



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