Dominican Saints 101: St. Margaret of Hungary

January 17, 2012

St. Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270, feast – Jan. 18) embarked upon her vocation very early.  Her father, King Bela IV of Hungary, was worried about an impending invasion of the Tartars in his kingdom, and so he and his wife promised the Lord that they would offer their first daughter to God if He protected their kingdom.  King Bela was victorious over the Tartars and soon after Margaret was born.  She was sent to the Dominican monastery at Vesprim when she was only three years old. St. Margaret was soon noted for devotion.  She had memorized the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin within six months from entering, she received the habit by her fourth birthday, and she smothered the Crucifix when she learned of what it was a sign, saying “Lord, I give and abandon myself to Thee for ever.”  Some might have thought that this fervent devotion would pass as she grew up.  Yet, she made solemn profession at the age of 12, and when her parents received a dispensation from her vows so that she could leave the monastery and get married, she chose to stay married to her heavenly Spouse rather than forsake Him for an earthly one.  According to the Rite found in the Roman Pontifical, she was solemnly veiled at the altar of her aunt St. Elizabeth of Hungary. As she continued in the monastic life, St. Margaret continued to grow in holiness, and the interior holiness she possessed manifested itself in outward works.  She, a princess by birth, took the lowliest tasks: sweeping, scrubbing the dishes, working with the poor, caring for the sick sisters in the infirmity, no matter what sickness brought them there.  She was content to serve them so that she might draw closer to the Lord. St. Margaret offers us a great witness of fidelity to the Lord.  In her, we can see that when the faith of children is fostered and when aided by God’s grace, the hope of eternal life can take root in the soul and lead to a life of joy and sanctity. O God, the rewarder of faithful souls, who didst enrich Thy holy Virgin, the Blessed Margaret, with spiritual gifts and eternal joys for her perfect renunciation and constant mortification, grant that we, through her prayers and example, may destroy the vices of the flesh, despise all earthly things, and so attain to everlasting life.  Through Christ our Lord.

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