15 June 2009

Blessed Margaret

In cleaning up my homeschool area, I nearly got to the bottom of my in-box. Not that I have a heap of things, just some things that I didn't have time for and lingered in limbo waiting for me to address them.

Years ago, a friend had given my name to the Blessed Margaret Guild. The Guild sent me a nice info packet with information on Blessed Margaret, some information on the Guild and a very short form to sign up for future mailings. It's one of those things that I never got around to, even hesitated doing.

I was reluctant because a good chunk of my mail is from Catholic organizations asking for money. Always enclosed in the mail is a beautiful Holy Card, small prayer book or a medal of some sort -- something to tug at my heart strings and send them money. Don't get me wrong, most of these organizations are wonderful and perform great works of charity and mercy. I just have a hard enough time supporting my own parish at the level I would like!

A portion of the "catholic" mail I do receive is addressed to my father, who passed away over nine years ago. Some of it is even questionable, asking for support for SSPX parishes or orders, and a bulky mailer from Father Gruner's Fatima Center.

The Blessed Margaret Guild, however, says they will send you a periodic mailing from the Shrine in Ohio and that your name will not be given, rented or shared with anyone else.

Blessed Margaret's story is incredible. Such an example of faith, forgiveness and submitting joyfully to God's will. She is also one to ask for intercession for the Pro-life cause. Below is a brief story about her from the Guild website, written by the Shrine and Guild Director, Rev. Andre-Joseph LaCasse, OP

Blessed Margaret of Castello was born of a wealthy, noble Italian family near Florence, Italy in 1287. Born a hunchback, dwarf, blind and lame, her family was ashamed of her and kept her hidden in virtual imprisonment for nine years in a tiny cell attached to a forest church. It was only through the family chaplain that Bl. Margaret came to know God. Seeking a miracle, her parents took her to a Franciscan Shrine. When she wasn’t cured, they abandoned her.

Bl. Margaret’s faith and courage inspired others in the community to take pity on her and to help her survive. Eventually she became a member of the Dominican Third Order of Castello, where she lived an exemplary life of prayer, penance, and charity. Despite her miseries, Margaret was serene, cheerful and courageous. She never became bitter, never complained, never reproached others or lost heart. Discouragement was a word she did not know. She found strength in prayer, in daily Mass, in Holy Communion and sought help from Jesus, Mary, Joseph and St. Dominic. Margaret was courageous because she looked at the suffering with the eyes of faith. She did not know why God permitted her to have so many afflictions. She did know that He was an infinitely loving and kind Father, who never permits one single misfortune without good reason, who always turns evil into good for His children. She wondered why people pitied her. Was it not a privilege to suffer with Christ? Suffering for her was a way to heaven. Pain made Margaret sympathetic and understanding towards others. She visited prisoners, helped the sick and comforted the dying. Since her death, at age thirty-three, she has kept on helping those who pray to her. Many cures have been attributed to her intercession.

Bl. Margaret of Castello was declared Blessed by the Catholic Church on Oct. 19, 1600. Bl. Margaret is an inspiration to those who are discouraged and tempted to self-pity. Her intercession is most powerful to those who suffer from eye and muscular diseases, and has become an inspiration for the Pro-Life Movement. She is a help for those who are unwanted and abandoned. Her incorrupt body lies under the main altar in St. Dominic Church, Castello, Italy. Many visit her Shrine to seek her powerful intercession.

Blessed Margaret of Castello, ora pro nobis.

* A link from Priests for Life, mentioning the National Shrine in PA

* Link from the shrine in KY

* Shrine in Idaho

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