Saint Margaret of Cortona
St. Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297) was born in Tuscany, Italy, the only child of a working-class family. She lost her mother at age seven and had a poor relationship with her stepmother. Margaret was spoiled, willful, reckless, and beautiful, and at the age of seventeen, she left her father's house in the night and became the mistress of a young nobleman. She lived with him in his family castle for nine years and bore him a son, but he did not marry her due to her lower social class. One day he did not return home from a journey, and his hound came back to the castle alone. The dog led Margaret into the nearby wood where she discovered her lover brutally murdered. This shook her to her core. Her eyes were opened to the sinfulness of her way of life, and she became deeply repentant. She left his family castle with her son and sought out the Franciscan friars for spiritual direction. She then reformed her life through intense prayer, penance, and self-discipline, eventually joining the Third Order of St. Francis, and living in strict poverty and great charity towards the poor. St. Margaret of Cortona is the patron saint of the homeless, reformed prostitutes, midwives, single laywomen, the mentally ill, and the falsely accused. Her feast day is February 22nd.
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