In Budapest there is an island in the middle of the Danube called St. Margaret's Island. This beautiful place is very popular among the people of Budapest. For us it is a extraordinary place because here King Bela IV built a monastery for his daughter Margaret. He promised God that if his country was spared from the invasion of the Mongols his only daughter would be consecrated to God.
He kept his promise and Margaret was placed in the monastery of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers in Vesperim. Later, after the monastery was built she moved to the island. At 12 she made her profession as Nun of the Order of Preachers.
Several years later her father obtained a dispensation from her vows so that she could be married to the King of Bohemia. In order to make sure that her life was not plagued with repeated offers of marriage, Margaret, along with 2 other Nuns, received the Consecration of Virgins before the altar of her aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Margaret took seriously her vocation of intercession for her country living a life of extreme poverty, asceticism and penance, something to be admired but not necessarily to be imitated. What can be imitated was her love and service to her community, her care for the sick, serving Christ in each of her sisters. During her lifetime she is said to have performed miracles.
One such story is that of the Provincial coming to the Island to serve the spiritual needs of the community. The nuns prevailed upon him to stay the night (nothing much has changed!) but he wouldn't give in (still the same!). At that moment the lay brother who accompanied him reported that the axle of the cart they had traveled in had snapped in two. There was no way they could fix it that night.
We are told that the Provincial starred through the grille at Margaret sitting in the back row and said some thing like, "Alright. I will stay over night as you ask. BUT the cart MUST be repaired by after Mass tomorrow!" And of course, it was!
St. Margaret died in 1270 at the age of 28. She was honored as a saint both before and after her death but she wasn't canonized until 1943.
St. Margaret comes from a family of saints! St. Hedwig was her great aunt. St. Elizabeth was her aunt. St. Cunegunde was her sister, St. Louis, Bishop of Toulouse was her nephew. Other saints were in her immediate family: St. Stephen, King of Hungary, St. Ladislaus and St. Imre. All these saints were members of the royal family that ruled Hungary proving that holiness is indeed possible in all walks of life!
St. Margaret is the patroness of peace among nations.
|Burial place of St. Margaret of Hungary on Margaret's Island|