St. Margaret of Hungary is truly a unique model of virtue for today’s modern young woman. In a prayer “deal” with God, her father, King Bela IV of Hungary, promised her to the religious life at her infancy, in return for an end to the persecution of his country by various enemies. She grew into an exquisitely beautiful woman and for that reason was offered marriage many times. She refused any thoughts or inclination towards a married life. She was passionate about her consecration to Jesus and devoted all her efforts to His service, even defying her father’s will for her to be released from her vows.
Despite her extraordinary beauty, she chose to neglect her appearance and often mimicked the lifestyle of the poor and sick she served in her ministry. She would go months without bathing or grooming herself in any way and she was often described as “repugnant” by those who visited the convent where she lived. It is believed that she adopted this practice as a severe form of mortification due to a self-professed attachment to the sins of vanity and pride.
Margaret was extremely strong-willed and defiant in the face of tasks or requests with which she did not agree. She often fasted from food and sleep, ignoring the rules of community life she shared with her sisters.
Despite all of her struggles with sanctity, the Church has chosen to honor Margaret and place her among the community of saints that include not only the devoutly pious but also, like Margaret, those of us who have many attachments to the world. Her life gives us an example of the victory we can have over the world while living in it.
Margaret died on January 18, 1270 at a young age and was canonized in 1943.
Other Saints We Remember Today
- St. Prisca (270), Virgin, Martyr
- Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome
- St. Volusian (496), Bishop
image: Manuel Navarro, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons