Today is the feast of Blessed Margaret of Castello. She was born in 1287, blind, lame, deformed, hunchbacked & a dwarf, Parisio & Emilia were of the nobility & lived in the castle of Metola, near Firenze, IT. For the 1st 14 years of her life, her family kept her hidden because of the shame they felt. They felt that if people knew about her it would bring disgraze upon the family. At the age of 6 she was walled up in a small cell besides a chapel where she could attend Mass & receive communion through a small window. The only person allowed to talk to her was the priest.
At age 14 her parents took her to the tomb of a holy man named Fra Giacomo at Citta di Castello. They had heard that miracles were being wrought there, & went to pray for a cure for her birth defects.When she wasn't cured they abandoned her & went home.
Eventually she ended up a Third Order Dominican in Castello. Despite her miseries, which included rejection & criticism, Margaret was serene, cheerful, & courageous. She kept her focus on Jesus & never became bitter, never complained, never reproached others or lost heart. She helped to care for the poor, the sick & visited prisoners. She died at age 33 on 13 April 1320. By that time, she had become so beloved by the townspeople that they demanded she be allowed a tomb inside the Church. The priest refused until a crippled girl was miraculously cured at the funeral. On 19 October 1609 she was beatified by Pope Paul V.
Over the years devotion to her has spread, especially among those who defend life. She shows us that every life has value. She also is seen as a special patron to the unwanted. & that is especially important in these days when pre-natal testing is resulting in so many babies with birth defects being aborted rather than welcomed.
Prayer in Honor of Blessed Margaret of Castello:
Your care extends to every human person,
No matter what afflictions they suffer,
And you uphold the dignity of every human life,
Regardless of the false ways that the world may calculate its value.
You gave us Blessed Margaret of Castello as a sign and a challenge.
You permitted your glory to shine through her human weakness,
And called those around her to love her
Despite her physical limitations.
Forgive us when we fail to defend the least among us.
Through the intercession of Blessed Margaret,
Give us grace to speak up for the outcast
and to welcome those who are rejected.
When this brief life is over,
Grant that we who have welcomed all our brothers and sisters,
May be welcomed by you into the life that never ends.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.