Blessed Margaret of Castello’s life can be summed up in one sentence. She was unwanted.
Born into a family which idolized human respect and which made a god of physical beauty she was a constant reproach to her worldly parents who viewed the blind and terribly deformed cripple that Almighty God’s Providence had sent them with disgust. Here was no achiever.
Here was no child of whom they could boast of her physical beauty, academic achievements, social status, sporting abilities and friends. Here was not a child who would provide her parents with innumerable possibilities to boast and lord it over their fellow Catholics with her progress in the world.
In our modern world she would not have survived a few weeks. ‘Science’ and Satan would have conspired to rid the world of this precious gift and mankind would have ‘smiled and smiled and been a villain.’ Would that her parents had embraced the cross which the Almighty and Good God had sent them for their conversion. They would have reaped a hundred fold the little, very little sacrifice that He had called upon them to make. Instead fearful of being mocked, of human respect, her parents had her shut up in a tiny cell adjacent to the family chapel .
Here she grew to love the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to learn and live her Faith. Not content with excluding her from the world of men her parents excluded her from heir own lives. They took her to the town of Castello where these godless creatures thought that for their attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments the Almighty would, through the intercession of the town’s patron saint, heal their child. Notwithstanding this tremendous effort on their part, Margaret remained uncured.
In their worldly wisdom her parents abandoned her seeing that she would always be an obstacle to their social advancement. One can only imagine the fear and horror of the poor blind and deformed child when she finally realized that she was abandoned by her parents. But her faith in God was stronger than her fear. Abandoned by the great ones of this world, by those who had everything, Our Lord led her to the beggars of Castello to those who had nothing not even faith and thus began her apostolate. Margaret who was blind led those who could see to the light of Truth.
For many years her good example and kind words filled those around her with love of God and a desire to emulate her. But Satan was watching and waiting. Margaret was accepted into a religious order but soon found herself at odds with all its members.
The root cause of this contention lay in Margaret’s absolute observance of the Rule of the Order (as she was bound to do by her oaths) and her refusal to submit to the demands of the religious that she accept their own watered down version of the Rule. Once more she was cast onto the streets of Castello by those who could not bear to see their reflection in the mirror of Truth which Margaret so courageously held up to them and for a long time those who had formerly loved and praised now despised and slandered her.
But Our Lord too was watching and waiting and He must have been well pleased with the way in which His beloved servant was conducting himself. God shifted the weight of the cross that He had fashioned for her onto His own shoulders and in the midst of all her turbulent suffering Margaret found the graces of God poured down upon her head. She was taken in by a wealthy family so that her material cares were forever lifted from her.
The Mantellates, a religious order of lay people and sisters welcomed her with open arms into their society and now she had both a home and a family. The miracles of conversion, of cures of disease and suffering of all kinds, which are attributed to the saint are simply too many for this little article to contain. She the homeless and unwanted was finally called to her true home in Heaven where she reaps for all eternity her reward for carrying what Our Lord had carved for her.
Her Message To The Modern World
The message which Blessed Margaret has for the modern world is this-Sacrifice. Her life was a continuous sacrifice, a sacrifice of sweetest incense which rose up to He Who had offered the Ultimate Sacrifice and interceded with Him for us.
Every moment of Margaret’s dear and pure life was a torment of pain and suffering. Yet she rose above her physical surroundings borne on the wings of love for her Creator. Her example echoes down the ages but will it find a respondent chord in today’s life? I doubt it. We are too full today of our own desires, our own fulfillment, our own wants.
How can we who know nothing of sacrifice relate to a child whose whole life was suffering. Would she suddenly appear now to us we would not welcome her. We would despise her ugliness, her deformity, her lack of social skills and yes, most of all, her complete adherence to the True Faith.
Today Blessed Margaret of Castello, Patron of the unwanted and of aborted (murdered) children still holds up to us as she did so long ago a mirror in which we can see ourselves. What will you do when you see your reflection in it?