mercredi 22 février 2012

Sainte MARGUERITE de CORTONE, pénitente tertiaire franciscaine


Pénitente

(1249-1297)

Sainte Marguerite de Cortone était une enfant du peuple. La négligence de ses parents, sa rare beauté, les occasions dangereuses, l'engagèrent en des liens coupables pendant neuf ans. Aveuglée par ses passions, elle avait le sentiment de sa vie criminelle et aspirait à en sortir; mais elle n'en avait pas le courage. La mort violente et tragique de son séducteur fut pour elle le coup de grâce.

Ardente au bien comme elle l'avait été au mal, elle fit l'aveu de ses fautes, et, après trois ans d'épreuves, reçut l'habit du Tiers-Ordre de Saint-François. Notre-Seigneur lui fut prodigue, comme autrefois à Madeleine, de Ses faveurs les plus singulières. La terre froide et nue est son lit, une pierre ou un morceau de bois son oreiller; son sommeil est souvent interrompu par ses soupirs et par ses larmes; sa beauté d'autrefois n'est plus aujourd'hui pour elle qu'un objet d'horreur; elle se défigure par les jeûnes et par de sanglantes meurtrissures.

La plus insigne grâce de sa vie depuis sa conversion, c'est sa participation aux souffrances de la Passion: "Prépare-toi, lui dit Jésus-Christ, à être purifiée par les tribulations, les tentations, les infirmités, les douleurs, les larmes, les craintes, la faim, la soif, le froid, les privations de toutes sortes; Je serai avec toi. -- O Seigneur, dit Marguerite, je m'offre avec allégresse pour souffrir avec Vous."

Elle eut bientôt une participation aussi grande que possible aux douleurs de Jésus, qu'elle vit et qu'elle endura toutes les unes après les autres. Quand elle sortit de cet état surnaturel, pâle et livide, elle demeura longtemps sans parole et glacée d'un froid mortel.

Dieu donna à Marguerite une grâce puissante pour obtenir la conversion des pécheurs et la délivrance des âmes du purgatoire. Elle eut, avant sa mort, à soutenir de terribles combats contre l'ennemi des âmes; mais Dieu fut avec elle, et elle vit un ange descendre du Ciel pour la fortifier.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

SOURCE :
http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/sainte_marguerite_de_cortone.html
Sainte Marguerite de Cortone

Pénitente laïque italienne (✝ 1297)

Elle avait vingt-huit ans et était mère d'un petit garçon quand elle perdit son amant, le comte de Montepulciano en Italie. Elle le trouva assassiné au pied d'un arbre. Elle retourna chez son père, un pauvre paysan de Toscane qui l'accueillit avec amour. Elle voulait rentrer dans un couvent de Cortone, mais on la refusa parce qu'elle était trop belle et pas encore assez vieille. Elle décida de racheter ses errements par une pénitence publique, se promenant dans les rues, montrée par un ânier qui, dans les rues de la ville, criait son passé. Elle logeait dans une cabane chez des gens riches qui la lui avaient donnée au fond de leur jardin tandis que les Frères Mineurs se chargeaient de son fils. Admise dans le tiers-ordre franciscain, elle y vécut vingt-trois ans, gratifiée par Dieu de nombreuses faveurs mystiques.

À Cortone en Toscane, l’an 1297, sainte Marguerite. Fortement remuée par la mort violente de son amant, elle lava par une pénitence salutaire les taches de sa jeunesse et, reçue dans le Tiers-Ordre de Saint-François, elle se retira dans la contemplation admirable des réalités célestes, enrichie par Dieu de charismes d’en-haut.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/686/Sainte-Marguerite-de-Cortone.html


Sainte Marguerite de Cortone

Pénitente, Tertiaire Franciscaine

+ en 1297

Marguerite avait 16 ans, elle était coquette et malheureuse, et un jour de cette année 1263, dans la vallée qui sépare Cortone de Montepulciano elle songeait… Son père s'était remarié, sa marâtre ne l'aimait pas et lui rendait le foyer impossible.. Un jeune seigneur de Montepulciano, charmé de sa beauté lui avait promis le mariage…que faire! Elle fit, hélas ! ce que l'apparence trompeuse d'un bonheur, tel qu'elle le concevait, lui conseillait et prit la direction de Montepulciano. Cette décision devait lui coûter bien des larmes, mais grâce à la miséricorde de Dieu, celui qui sauve Marie de Magdala, elle devait faire d'elle une " Madeleine Franciscaine " par la pénitence et par l'amour.Durant neuf ans, elle vécut dans l'égarement, elle n'était pas épouse, mais elle était châtelaine et chaque jour elle éblouissait ceux qu'elle rencontrait par son luxe; c'est à la brllle et riche mondaine semblant heureuse sans l’être car elle pleurait souvent en secret, elle était en effet chrétienne et son âme était déchirée ; elle avait plutôt livré son honneur à la vanité, car son péché, elle ne l'aimait pas.Quelquefois même, comme on la raillait sur sa vie scandaleuse et sur sa coquetterie, elle faisait cette réponse déconcertante : " Rassurez-vous à mon sujet ; un jour viendra où je serai une sainte, et vous viendrez, le bourdon à la main, en pèlerinage à mon tombeau. " Comment ce miracle s'accomplirait-il, elle n'en savait rein, mais Dieu se chargea de la réaliser.

Son amant fut assassiné ; elle fit elle-même, dans un bois voisin, attirée par le chien du mort, la découverte de son cadavre caché sous un monceau de feuilles; elle s'assit près de lui et pleura ; n'ayant plus de place dans une maison où elle n'était plus rien, elle prit par la main l'enfant de son péché et regagna la demeure d'où elle s'était enfuie neuf ans auparavant.Son père laissé à lui-même l'aurait accueillie, mais sous l'influence de la marâtre il l'a rejeta; elle s'assit à quelques pas sous un figuier dont on voit encore les rejetons et la tentation de jadis se représenta; elle avait encore toute sa jeunesse, toute sa beauté ; elle trouverait facilement des seigneurs riches qui la rendraient heureuse, et si elle péchait maintenant, était-ce de sa faute, n'y était-elle pas forcée ! Mais cette fois, Dieu parla plus fort que le tentateur. S'étant levée elle alla droit à Cortone avec son jeune fils se mettre sous la direction des Frères Mineurs. A son entrée dans la ville elle fit la rencontre de deux dames bienfaisantes qui l'accueillirent dans leur maison et le repentir entra à flots puissants dans son cœur. Elle eut voulu retourner à Montepulciano pour demander pardon de ses scandales ; du moins le fit-elle à Laviano son village natal, en un jour de dimanche et pendant la grand'messe, et elle versa une telle abondance de larmes, que ses compatriotes d'abord étonnées, se mirent bientôt à pleurer avec elle. Après une épreuve de trois années, elle fut admise dans le Tiers-Ordre, et celle qui avait beaucoup péché se mit à aimer chaque jour davantage et à authentifier son amour par une pénitence inouïe.Elle se retira d'abord dans une petite maison solitaire, à proximité de l'église des religieuses, dont elle suivait assidûment les offices, s'occupant à soigner les femmes en couches ; elle fonda l'hôpital de la Miséricorde, encore existant aujourd'hui puis sur l'Ordre de Jésus lui-même elle entra dans une réclusion au sommet de la ville près de l'église Saint-Basile où elle resta jusqu'à sa mort.

Durant sa vie d'égarement, Marguerite fut malheureuse : " J'ai tout perdu, disait-elle, l'honneur, la dignité, la paix…sauf la foi. " Et cette foi émergeait en elle pour condamner son péché, pour rendre amer l'enivrement même qu'on peut y prouver et ce fut cette même foi, lumière divine et source de force qui l'incita à la pénitence, à la réparation, et quelle pénitence, quelle réparation ! Non contente de se mortifier, de se macérer, de coucher sur la dure, de se contenter d'un peu de pain, d'eau, et de quelques herbes pour nourriture, non contente de passer la plus grande partie de ses nuits dans la contemplation et la prière, de meurtrir son corps par le cilice et les sanglantes disciplines, elle aura surtout soif d'humiliation, de diffamations, elle aspirait au mépris, à devenir pour tous un objet de dégoût, elle eut souhaité qu'on lui jetât de la boue, qu'on la foulât aux pieds, et elle faisait irruption en pleine église criant son péché aux fidèles assemblés; elle étalait avec une amère complaisance le souvenir de ses débordements demandant à tous de la honnir. Et voici que le Christ l'élevait peu à peu, il en faisait sa fille puis son épouse ; il la désignait par miracle à l'attention des hommes de son temps. " Tu as été faite, lui disait-il, pour crier la paix aux habitants de Cortone, " Marguerite appelait la paix et les Cortonnais se réconciliaient : "tu avertiras l'évêque d'Arezzo de licencier ses troupes, et de faire la paix avec Cortone. Malheur à lui, s'il n'obéit pas ! Et la voix de la médiatrice de la paix désarmait l'évêque d'Arezzo, puis son regard portait plus loin; Jésus lui enjoignait de prier et de s'immoler pour que l'empereur et le roi de Sicile cessassent de disputer au Pape la possession de certaines terres dont il était le légitime souverain, et la dispute cessait. Voyant saint Louis mourir et Saint-Jean d'Acre menacé par les infidèles : " faites hâter le départ des Croisés, criait-elle aux Franciscains. Dieu l'ordonne. " Et l'idée de croisade tourmentait les consciences chrétiennes.

Sainte Marguerite fut donc dans l'Église la médiatrice de paix choisie par le Christ ; elle le fut aussi dans l'Ordre de Saint-François qui commençait à se diviser contre lui-même ; on se demandait si cet Ordre si glorieux à ses débuts, dans le sein duquel des lumières de sainteté avait brillé aussi nombreuses que les astres dans le sein de la nuit, qui avait fait triompher l'Église de la tyrannie de l'empereur Frédéric II d'Allemagne, n'allait pas s'enténébrer pour toujours et succomber à ses propres dissensions ; c'est alors que Marguerite fut chargée par le Christ de le rassurer et de le pacifier, elle démasqua l'hérésie des Fraticelles, fit triompher les partisans de la stricte observance, et Jésus par sa voix renouvela aux Franciscains l'expression de son éternel amour.De par la volonté de celui qui l'avait choisie elle joue même dans l' Ordre un rôle de prophétisme et déchirant les voiles de l'avenir elle lui montra et ses tribulations et ses grandes destinées; elle ne cessait en effet de prier Jésus pour la famille religieuse qui la guidait et la protégeait ou de l'interroger sur son avenir et devint ainsi, de par sa gratitude, le grand prophète de l'Ordre franciscain : ' Dis aux Frères Mineurs, lui commandait-il, qu'approche le temps pour lequel ils doivent se préparer à des tribulations, au milieu desquelles ils sembleront déchus de leur premier état ; mais je serai avec eux et il ne restera au monde aucune religion si aimée, aucun Ordre qui me servira au même point et encore sachent les Frères Mineurs que je leur ai donné et leur donnerai des grâces plus abondantes qu'à quelqu 'autre Ordre religieux qui soit au monde. Cependant, qu'ils se préparent à porter des tribulations par lesquelles ils me ressembleront, et je serai avec eux, et qu'ils ne craignent point de ce que je veux leur vie semblable à la mienne, car jamais je ne les abandonnerai. Ils auront un Pape qui semblera mettre en ordre le monde entier, et il le dispersera plutôt. Après cette tribulation, j'exalterai ledit Ordre et le rendrai magnifiquement sublime. Qu'il puise donc en moi la force et ne désire plaire qu'à moi seul et que ses religieux reçoivent avec soin tous ceux qu'ils peuvent amener à l'Ordre petits et grands.

Tiré des Fleurs Franciscaines Vol.112

SOURCE :
http://spiritualitechretienne.blog4ever.com/blog/lire-article-83937-590226-sainte_marguerite_de_cortone.html


St. Margaret of Cortona

A penitent of the Third Order of St. Francis, born at Laviano in Tuscany in 1247; died at Cortona, 22 February, 1297. At the age of seven years Margaret lost her mother and two years later her father married a second time. Between the daughter and her step-mother there seems to have been but little sympathy or affection, andMargaret was one of those natures who crave affection. When about seventeen years of age she made the acquaintance of a young cavalier, who, some say, was a son of Gugliemo di Pecora, lord of Valiano, whith whom she one night fled from her father's house. Margaret in her confessions does not mention her lover's name. For nine years she lived with him in his castle near Montepulciano, and a son was born to them. Frequently she besought her lover to marry her; he as often promised to do so, but never did. In her confessions she expressly says that she consented to her lover's importunities unwillingly. Wadding and others who have described her in these early years as an abandoned woman, either had not rightly read her legend, or had deepened the shadows of her early life to make her conversion seem the more wonderful. Even during this period Margaret was very compassionate towards the poor and relieved their wants; she was also accustomed to seek out quiet places where she would dream of a life given to virtue and the love of God. Once some of her neighbors bade her look to her soul before it was too late. She replied that they need have no fear of her, for that she would die a saintand that her critics would come as pilgrims to her shrine.


She was at last set free from her life of sin by the tragic death of her lover, who was murdered whilst on a journey. Margaret's first intimation of his death was the return of his favourite hound without its master. The hound led her to his body. It was characteristic of her generosity that she blamed herself for his irregular life, and began to loathe her beauty which had fascinated him. She returned to his relatives all the jewels andproperty he had given her and left his home; and with her little son set out for her father's house. Her father would have received her, but his wife refused, and Margaret and her son were turned adrift. For a moment she felt tempted to trade upon her beauty; but she prayed earnestly and in her soul she seemed to hear a voice bidding her go to the Franciscan Friars at Cortona and put herself under their spiritual direction. On her arrival atCortona, two ladies, noticing her loneliness, offered her assistance and took her home with them. They afterwards introduced her to the Franciscan Friars at the church of San Francesco in the city. For three yearsMargaret had to struggle hard with temptations. Naturally of a gay spirit, she felt much drawn to the world. Buttemptation only convinced her the more of the necessity of self-discipline and an entire consecration of herself toreligion. At times remorse for the past would have led her into intemperate self-mortifications, but for the wise advice of her confessors. As it was, she fasted rigorously, abstaining altogether from flesh-meat, and generally subsisting upon bread and herbs. Her great physical vitality made such penance a necessity to her.

After three years of probation Margaret was admitted to the Third Order of St. Francis, and from this time she lived in strict poverty. Following the example of St. Francis, she went and begged her bread. But whilst thus living on alms, she gave her services freely to others; especially to the sick-poor whom she nursed. It was about the time that she became a Franciscan tertiary that the revelations began which form the chief feature in her story. It was in the year 1277, as she was praying in the church of the Franciscan Friars, that she seemed to hear these words: "What is thy wish, poverella?" and she replied: "I neither seek nor wish for aught but Thee, my Lord Jesus." From this time forth she lived in intimate communing with Christ. At first He always addressed her as "poverella", and only after a time of probation and purification did He call her "My child". But Margaret, though coming to lead more and more the life of a recluse, was yet active in the service of others. She prevailed upon the city of Cortona to found a hospital for the sick-poor, and to supply nurses for the hospital, she instituted a congregation of Tertiary Sisters, known as le poverelle. She also established a confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy; the members of which bound themselves to support the hospital, and to help the needy wherever found, and particularly the respectable poor. Moreover on several occasions Margaret intervened in public affairs for the seek of putting an end to civic feuds. Twice in obedience to a Divine command, she upbraided Guglielmo UbertiniPazzi, Bishop of Arezzo, in which diocese Cortona was situated, because he lived more like a secular prince and soldier, than like a pastor of souls. This prelate was killed in battle at Bibbiena in 1289. The year previous to this,Margaret for the sake of greater quiet had removed her lodging from the hospital she had founded to near the ruined church of St. Basil above the city. This church she now caused to be repaired. It was here that she spent her last years, and in this church she was buried. But after her death it was rebuilt in more magnificent style anddedicated in her own name. There her body remains enshrined to this day, incorrupt, in a silver shrine over thehigh-altar. Although honoured as a beata from the time of her death, Margaret was not canonized until 16 May, 1728.

The original "Legend of St. Margaret" was written by her director and friend, Fra Giunta Bevegnati. It is almost entirely taken up with her revelations, and was mainly dictated by Margaret herself, in obedience to her directors. It is published by the Bollandists in "Acta SS., mense Februarii, die 22". The most notable edition of the "Legend" however is that published in 1793 by da Pelago, together with an Italian translation and twelve learned dissertations dealing with the life and times of the saint. In 1897 a new edition of da Pelago's work, but without the dissertations, was published at Siena by Crivelli. An English version of the greater part of the "Legend", with an introductory essay, has been published by Fr. Cuthbert, O.S.F.C. (London, 1906).

 Sources

See also MARCHESE, Vita di S. Margherita (Rome, 1674); CHERANCE, Sainte Margueriite de Cortone, tr. O'CONNOR (London).

Hess, Lawrence. "St. Margaret of Cortona." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.22 Feb. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09653b.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael T. Barrett. Dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.



Margaret of Cortona, OFM Tert. (RM)

Born in Laviano (Alviano?), Tuscany, Italy, 1247; died in Cortona, Italy, February 22, 1297; canonized by Benedict XIII in 1728.


Margaret of Cortona was raised in a poor farm family by her cold stepmother after her own mother died when she was seven. The harshness of her stepmother, combined with beautiful Margaret's indulged propensity to seek pleasure, led her into seduction by nobleman of Montepulciano when she was 18. She followed him to his castle and became his mistress for nine years, always hoping that he would make good his promise to marry her.

She would ride arrogantly out of his castle, dressed in fine silks and despising the poor. She longed to marry the young man, but he refused, even when she bore him a son. One day he failed to return to the castle. Two days later his dog returned alone. He plucked at her dress until Margaret followed him through a wood to the foot of an oak tree, where he began to scratch. To her horror, she found the disfigured, decaying body of her lover in the leaf- covered pit where his murderers had thrown him.

The sight of this rotting carcass, who had been her gallant, struck her with such terror of the divine judgment and the treachery of this world that she became a perfect penitent. When he died, she was evicted from his castle, and gave back all his gifts. In despair she publicly confessed her sins, dressed herself as a penitent, and then tried to atone for her sins by infinite goodness to the poor and prayer.

Unsure of her next step, she returned to her father's home with her son. She threw herself at his feet bathing them in tears to beg his pardon for her contempt of his authority and fatherly admonitions. She spent days and nights in tears. She also attempted to repair the scandal she had caused by going to the parish church with a rope around her neck and asking public pardon. Her father wished to take her back, but her stepmother refused to have such a public sinner under the same roof.

Driven away in shame, she was tempted to give up her good resolves, but she prayed, and an inner voice bade her go at once to Cortona and to confide the care of her soul to the Franciscans. On the way she met two ladies, Marinana and Raneria Moscari, who listened to her story. Moved with pity, they took the mother and her son into their home and care. Later they introduced her to the Franciscans, who soon became her fathers in Christ and they arranged for her son's education at Arezzo (he later became a Franciscan). For three years Margaret struggled diligently against temptation. She was supported in her task by the counsel of two friars, John da Castiglione and Giunta Bevegnati, who was her confessor and later her biographer.

Now, under the severest mortifications, Margaret began her mystical ascent. The wise Franciscans tried to make the distraught woman modify her extreme grief and penances that disfigured her body. Eventually Margaret's peace of mind returned. She began to experience the love of Jesus and to believe that her sins had been forgiven.

Margaret earned her living by nursing the ladies of Cortona, but later gave this up in order to devote herself more fully to prayer and to the corporal work of mercy of caring for the sick poor in her own small cottage. She lived in seclusion on the alms of others. Any unbroken food that she received, she gave to the poor. For herself and her son, Margaret kept only the scraps.

She wanted to become a tertiary of the Friars Minor, but they made her wait for three years before giving her the Franciscan habit. From the time she became a tertiary, Margaret advanced rapidly in prayer and was drawn into very direct communion with her God. Thus, her ecstatic life began in 1277. Christ set her up as an example to sinners and her influence was amazing--many flocked to her for counsel.

She received from Christ these words: "I have made you a mirror for sinners. From you will the most hardened learn how willingly I am merciful to them, in order to save them. You are a ladder for sinners, that they may come to me through your example. My daughter, I have set you as a light in the darkness, as a new star that I give to the world, to bring light to the blind, to guide back again those who have lost the way, and to raise up those who are broken down under their sins. You are the way of the despairing, the voice of mercy."

From near and far came sin-plagued folk to hear from Margaret a word of comfort and counsel. Margaret sent them to the Franciscans and particularly to her confessor, who was later her biographer. When he complained that there were so many of these people, Margaret heard the words: "Your confessor has forbidden you to send him so many men and women who have been converted through your words and tears. He said to you that he could not clean so many stables in one day. Say to him that when he hears confession he does not clean stables, he prepares for me a dwelling in the souls of the penitent."

Not only did the living come to her, so did the dead. The illustrious penitent Margaret distinguished herself by her charity to the suffering souls in Purgatory. They appeared to her in great numbers to ask her assistance. One day she saw before her two travellers, who begged her help to repair injustices they had committed: "We are two merchants, who have been assassinated on the road by brigands. We could not go to confession or receive absolution; but by the mercy of our Divine Savior and His Holy Mother, we had the time to make an act of perfect contrition, and we have been saved. But our torments in Purgatory are terrible, because in the exercise of our profession we have committed many acts of injustice. Until these acts are repaired we can have no repose nor alleviation. This is why we beseech you, servant of God, to go and find such and such of our relatives and heirs, to warn them to make restitution as soon as possible of all the money which we have unjustly acquired." They gave the holy penitent the necessary information and disappeared.

The communications Margaret received did not all relate to herself. In one case she was told to send a message to Bishop William of Arezzo, warning him to amend his ways and to stop fighting with the people of his diocese and living like a worldly prince and soldier rather than a shepherd of souls. Often Margaret was able to mediate in factional disputes and make peace. In 1289, she strove to avert war when Bishop William was again at strife with the Guelfs. Margaret went to him in person but he would not listen. Ten days later he was killed in battle.

She established an association of women to act as nurses and men to finance hospitals for the poor. In 1286, Bishop William of Arezzo gave permission for a whole community of women (whom she called the 'Poverelle') to develop her initiative on a permanent basis. At first Margaret nursed the poor in her own home. Then a lady named Diabella proved a house. The town councilors, at the urging of Uguccio Casali, gave money with which Margaret founded a hospital, Spedale di Santa Maria della Misericordia, for the poor dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy.

About 1289, false and vicious rumors were spread about her relations to the friars. Father Giunta was transferred to Siena, but it was later proven that the rumors were the evil work of gossips, and the holiness of her life became apparent to all. Not only did people come to her for counsel, but also for healing.

The more advanced Margaret became spiritually, the greater were her self-imposed penances. By the end of her life she slept very little and only on the bare ground; ate only bread and raw vegetables with water to drink; wore a rough hair-shirt next to her skin, and used the scourge freely on herself.
It is recorded that at the time of her death at age 50, Margaret saw the many souls that she assisted out of Purgatory form a procession to escort her to Heaven. God revealed this favor granted the Saint Margaret through a holy person of Castello. This servant of God, rapt in ecstasy at the moment of Margaret's death, saw her soul in the midst of this brilliant cortège, and on recovering from her rapture, related the vision to her friends.

On the day of her death, after 29 years of doing penance, she was publicly proclaimed a saint. That same year the citizens of Cortona began to build a church in her honor. All that is left of this original church built by Nicholas and John Pisano is a window.

When the holy penitent died, her corpse was embalmed and solemnly entombed. But people wished to see and venerate the body more closely. Therefore, in 1456, it was taken out of its old shrine, freed of all dust that could have seeped in, newly dressed, and placed so that it was possible to take it out easily and expose it for veneration. Her body is still preserved under the high altar of a new church of which she is the titular patron. The edifice also contains a statue of her and her dog by John Pisano (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Cuthbert, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Martindale--Queen's Daughters, Mauriac, Schamoni, Schouppe, Walsh, White).

In art, Saint Margaret has a dog pulling at her dress and a skull or corpse at her feet. Sometimes she may be shown (1) in a checkered habit, black cloak, and white veil; (2) with a cross and scourge; (3) in an ecstasy with Christ appearing to her (Roeder); or in ecstasy with angels supporting her (White).

She is the patroness of penitent women (Roeder).
SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0222.shtml


February 22

St. Margaret of Cortona, Penitent

From her life written by her confessor, in the Acta Sanctorum; by Bollandus, p. 298. Wadding, Annal. FF. Minorum ad an. 1297; and the Lives of the Saints of the Third Order by Barb. t. 1. p. 508.

A.D. 1297

MARGARET was a native of Alviano, in Tuscany. The harshness of a step-mother, and her own indulged propensity to vice, cast her headlong into the greatest disorders. The sight of the carcase of a man, half putrified, who had been her gallant, struck her with so great a fear of the divine judgments, and with so deep a sense of the treachery of this world, that she in a moment became a perfect penitent. The first thing she did was to throw herself at her father’s feet, bathed in tears, to beg his pardon for her contempt of his authority and fatherly admonitions. She spent the days and nights in tears, and to repair the scandal she had given by her crimes, she went to the parish church of Alviano, with a rope about her neck, and there asked public pardon for them. After this she repaired to Cortona, and made her most penitent confession to a father of the Order of St. Francis, who admired the great sentiments of compunction with which she was filled, and prescribed her austerities and practices suitable to her fervour. Her conversion happened in the year 1274, the twenty-fifth of her age. She was assaulted by violent temptations of various kinds, but courageously overcame them, and after a trial of three years, was admitted to her profession among the penitents of the third Order of St. Francis, in Cortona. The extraordinary austerities with which she punished her criminal flesh soon disfigured her body. To exterior mortification she joined all sorts of humiliations; and the confusion with which she was covered at the sight of her own sins, pushed her on continually to invent many extraordinary means of drawing upon herself all manner of confusion before men. This model of true penitents, after twenty-three years spent in severe penance, and twenty of them in the religious habit, being worn out by austerities, and consumed by the fire of divine love, died on the 22nd of February, in 1297. After the proof of many miracles, Leo X. granted an office in her honour to the city of Cortona, which Urban VIII. extended to the whole Franciscan Order, in 1623, and she was canonized by Benedict XIII. in 1728.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/2/222.html


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