Saint Margaret of Cortona

Saint Margaret of Cortona
artist unknown (if you own this image or can find the source, contact me!)

I recently used Jen Fulwiler’s Saint’s Name Generator to find a patron saint for the coming year. (I last did this in 2017, when I met the wonderful Bl. Sára Salkaházi.) For 2019, providence and the algorithm have ordained that St. Margherita da Cortona (1247–1297) will be guiding me. And y’all…she is awesome. A summary:

  • Traumatized by her rich lover’s murder, Margherita renounced her many possessions and returned with their son to her father’s house.
  • Outcast as an unmarried mother, she and her son sought refuge among the Franciscans of Cortona. He became a friar; she became a tertiary and cared for the sick, poor, and homeless.
  • From time to time she told off the local bishop for his worldly ways and militarism. She was a peacemaker, and it was hard work.
  • Her confessor had to tell her to tone down the penance. She spent her dying days in the ruins of a church on a hill that overlooked the city, so you can see how well that took. (#aesthetic.)
  • She intercedes for the homeless, the mentally ill, the penitent, single mothers, and sex workers.
  • And me.

I am so grateful for the intercession of this woman who cared not a whit what the world thought of her, who was so ready to turn to penance, who read the circumstances of her life with providence’s eyes, who welcomed advice, who left a palace for the house of the Lord, who loved her son, who loved the poor, who knew she was loved by God.

In 2019, let us open our hearts to penance, to change, to whatever providence has in store. Saint Margherita, pray for us!

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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