Saint Margaret of Cortona: Lay Franciscan Penitent

On May 16, the Franciscan family celebrates the life of a lay Franciscan penitent, St. Margaret of Cortona (1247–1297).

Escaping home

Margaret was born into a farming family in the small village of Laviano in the diocese of Chiusi, Italy. Her mother died when Margaret was seven and her father remarried; the relationship between Margaret and her stepmother was not good, so Margaret, a beautiful, high-spirited girl, ran off when she was 18, and went to work for a nobleman who lived near Montepulciano. They entered into a relationship and had a son.

St Margaret of Cortona full dossal 700pxlsA dossal of Margaret, painted the year after her death, similar to the dossal of Saint Clare in Assisi, with scenes from her life surrounding the central figure.

Forced with her child to leave her home

Nine years later, when she was 27, her partner’s faithful dog came home alone, went directly to Margaret’s room, and began

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