Margaret ST., the name of several Roman Catholic saints.
I. The latest of these was canonized through the influence of the Dominicans, who manifested a special interest in her, both before and after her death; she is patronized, however, simply in the neighborhood of her native village, San Severin, in the duchy of Ancona. From the former name of that place, she was called Septenmpeda; the practice of such virtues as are common among saints, and which she cultivated during her widowhood, gave her the surname Vidua; and since, in her humility, she would never wear shoes, she received the appellation Discalceata. The only inheritance left to her daughter comprised a pair of shoes and the soles of her feet, which became loosened in death and assumed the form of shoes, and which were the principal relics exhibited in her memory by the Dominicans. She died in 1395.
II. The merely beatified saints, SEE BEATIFICATION, of this name belong, without exception, to the monastic orders; and in their legends the fancy and the jealousy of the monks are equally apparent. The more celebrated are:
1. A beautiful Italian from the neighborhood of Perugia, who had up to her twenty-fifth year led a grossly licentious life, but afterwards, having been awakened by a startling incident, distinguished herself by turning to a life of the severest penance in the convent of the Franciscans at Cortona (hence called Margaret de Cortona). Her confessor, however, resisted her desire to revisit the scenes of her former shame, accompanied only by an old woman. She is usually represented with the instruments of torture, because in spirit she experienced the entire passion of the Savior, who refused to designate her his handmaiden, but honored her as his friend. Her conversations with Christ and the Virgin Mary served to endorse the more lenient treatment of the Spiritualists (Act. SS., 1. c., p. 648). When she died, in 1297, the Franciscans claimed that they saw her soul ascend from purgatory to heaven. In 1623 Urban VIII permitted them to pay her religious honors.
2. As an offset to Margaret de Cortona, the Dominicans raised up one of their tertiaries, a blind girl of Urbino, in whose heart were found, after death, three wondrous stones, bearing the image of the Virgin Mary with the child in the manger (Act. SS., April 13; beatified Oct. 19,1609).
Other Margarets, including a royal princess of Hungary, who died a Dominican, Jan. 28, 1271, are obscure. They are found in the Act. SS. under Jan. 23; Feb. 11; March 5 7, 13, and 22; April 12 and 30; May 15, 18, and 23; and June 4, 10, and 13. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 9:54; Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 6:835.