St Margaret of Castello was an Italian Third Order Dominican who was disabled, yet had great devotion and sanctity. She was abandoned as a child due to her handicaps, leading to the poor people of the town caring for her themselves.
What Is Saint Margaret of Castello the Patron Saint Of?
Saint Margaret of Castello is the patron saint of the disabled, the blind, and the pro-life movement.
Margaret was born in 1287 in Castello della Metola in the Papal States (Italy).
A group of Catholic women found her in 1293, when she was six years old, in their parish church. Margaret was blind and in utter poverty, and her parents had abandoned her.
(Some accounts say that her parents were nobles who walled her up between 1293 and 1303 in their estate, where she could receive food and the sacraments and be instructed in the Faith, before finally abandoning her at that time.)
These women took her in to their respective families, taking turns in caring for her, since they each were of little means themselves.
Eventually some local nuns took her in, but Margaret’s piety put their lax practice of the Faith to shame, and they soon ridiculed her and threw her out.
She was taken in again by poor families, and when she was 15 years old, became a Third Order Dominican (like St Catherine of Siena).
God’s grace was upon her, and He worked miracles through her, including the healing of a friend and fellow Dominican Tertiary who had a disease of the eyes that the doctors could not solve.
Next, her mantle was used to put out a fire in her foster-family’s home.
In gratitude to her adoptive families, and in spite of being blind, she taught their children in a little school. She instructed them in the Catholic Faith, including the Psalms, which she had memorized by heart while in the convent.
She died at age 33, on April 13th, 1320, the same age as Our Lord when He died, and was buried inside her parish church, at the popular demand of the town. She was unknown except by those in her local community.
But miracles took place after her death as well, and in 1609 Pope Paul V approved devotion to her, and faithful Catholics began formally asking for her intercession.
Pope Francis declared her a saint through equipollent canonization on 24 April 2021.
St Margaret of Castello was beatified by Pope Paul V on October 19th, 1609. St Margaret of Castello was canonized by Pope Francis (through equipollent canonization) on April 24th, 2021.
Equipollent canonization means that a Catholic from older times met three criteria:
First, have Catholics been asking for this person’s intercession for a long time?
Second, is it indisputable that this person lived a devout and faithful life?
Third, have mircles been wrought by this person’s intercession?
For St Margaret of Castello, the answer to all three questions was an emphatic Yes.
St Margaret’s feastday is April 13th.