On April 24, Pope Francis declared Margaret of Castello a saint by “equipollent” or “equivalent” canonization. Basically, this means that Francis has waived the miracle requirement for Saint Margaret and declared her a saint by his own authority.
According to Catholic World Report, the online Catholic magazine, in order to qualify for “equipollent” canonization, a candidate must have a cult that has survived the centuries, must have a reputation for virtue, and must have an historical association with miracles attributed to them. Saint Margaret of Castello certainly meets those requirements.
Born in 1287 in Metola, Italy, Margaret was blind at birth and suffered a severe curvature of her spine. She was also a dwarf, with a head disproportionate to the rest of her tiny body. Her parents kept her hidden away, essentially imprisoned in her own home behind a bricked-in room, though she was allowed to attend Mass, receive the sacraments, and given religious instruction by the local priest. Hoping for a miraculous cure, her parents brought her to a Franciscan shrine in Citta di Castello in 1303. No cure having materialized, they abandoned the poor child. She was taken in and cared for by the townsfolk.
Also in 1303, Margaret was introduced to the friars of the newly formed Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, and she was admitted to the Third Order of Saint Dominic. She received the habit of the Third Order and wore it for the rest of her life. Grateful to the townsfolk her raised here, she founded a small school, where she taught children in the Catholic faith. Margaret died in 1320 at the age of 33. The townsfolk wanted her buried inside the parish church, but the priest balked at the idea. At her funeral, however, a disabled girl was cured of her disability, which inspired the priest to consent to Margaret’s being buried in the church. Her burial site quickly became associated with miracles and a place for pilgrims.
In 1609, Pope Paul V beatified Margaret by “equivalent” beatification.
A prayer from a novena to Saint Margaret of Castello:
Dear God, thank You for the gift of life that You have given me. I am sorry for the times when I have failed to recognize the value and sacredness of life in others.
You created Saint Margaret with a great capacity for loving others, and with unique gifts that many people failed to see during her lifetime. Please give special grace to those parents considering abortions. Give them the courage to choose life and open their hearts to the child that God has given to them.
Saint Margaret you were rejected by your own parents, yet you saw God’s goodness in all circumstances. You accepted the years of loneliness and isolation that you endured without losing hope. You saw suffering as a gift from God that helped your faith blossom. Pray that I would accept the suffering I have been given in this life so that I may more fully share in life with Christ in the next. Help me to not become bitter because of the suffering I endure.
Please intercede on my behalf for these intentions (State your intentions here). Amen.
You can find the entire novena here: https://www.praymorenovenas.com/margaret-of-castello-novena
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.