Margaret of Castello
(1287-1320) is considered the patron of the unwanted.
She was born dreadfully deformed; a dwarf, totally blind, suffering
from severe scoliosis and so lame she could hardly walk. When she
was only six years old, Margaret’s father had her walled up in a small
cell attached to a forest church.
As seventeen, Margaret’s parents, seeking a miraculous cure, took her
on a pilgrimage to the medieval Italian city of Castello. When
the miracle failed to occur, she was abandoned by her parents.
Margaret became a beggar and was befriended by other beggars. She
eventually became a Dominican and dedicated herself to visiting the
imprisoned and to comforting the sick and dying. She was always
compassionate, sensitive and understanding to others and brought peace
wherever she went.
Margaret is interred under the main altar of the Church of Saint
Dominic, Citta-di-Castello, Italy. Two hundred years after her
death, on June 9, 1558, her body was exhumed and although never
embalmed, was perfectly preserved. Margaret’s body is still
incorrupt some 600 years after her death.