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Saint Margaret of Hungary OP

Saint Margaret of Hungary OP
  • Century: 13th Century
  • Patronage: Fasting and Prayer
  • Feast Day: January 18th

St. Margaret was born in Hungary, and was the eighth daughter of ten children to the Ruler of Croatia.  Her parents were a Royal couple that ruled the land.  Her parents vowed that if Hungary were liberated from the Mongols, they would dedicate a child to Religion.  Her parents entrusted the four-year-old Margaret to the Dominican Monastery at Veszprem in 1245.  Six years later she was transferred to the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin founded by her parents on Rabbit Island, near Buda – today called Margaret Island.  The ruins of this monastery can still be seen today.  The rest of life was spent there dedicating her life to her religion.  She opposed all attempts of her father to arrange a political marriage for her with King Ottokar II of Bohemia. 

Much of the details of her life are known from the “Legend of St. Margaret”, written in the 14th century. According to this, Margaret chastised herself from early childhood, wore and iron girdle, hair shirts, and shoes spiked with nails to create pain and suffering to offer up.  She later also performed the dirtiest tasks in the Monastery.  She died on January 18th, 1271 at the age of twenty-eight.  Her death is believed to have been caused by fatigue brought on by her extreme fasting and endless hours in prayer.   Seventy-four miracles were ascribe to her intercession, most of them referring to curing illness, even someone coming back from the dead.  Pope Pius XII did not canonize her until 1943.  Her aunt was St. Elizabeth of Hungary.  Even though it took centuries for her to be canonized, she was venerated as a saint shortly after her death. 

Her feast day is celebrated on January 18th.  Her monastery was among those suppressed in 1782 by the Orders of Emperor Joseph II.  At that time, her remains were given to the Poor Clares.  They were kept in Buda.  In art she is usually depicted in a Dominican habit holding a white lily and a book. 

Practical Take Away

St. Margaret of Hungary was a Dominican Nun, whose parents were the King and Queen of Hungary.  They vowed to give their child to religion if their land was purified of oppressors occupying it.  She was given to the Dominican Monastery at the age of four.  She spent most of her life in extreme fasting and prayer, and so much so, that it is believed to have attributed to her death at the age of 28.  Although she is not official patron saint of anything, she has been venerated for centuries, since her death, for aid in fasting and praying.