Letter of the Master of the Order – St. Margaret of Città di Castello

Rome, 24 April 2021
Prot. 74/18/547 Margherita di Citta di Castello

Even if my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10)

To all Provincials and Vice Provincials,
To All Members of the Dominican Family

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With gratitude to God, the Giver of all good things, I am pleased to announce the imminent canonization (equipollent canonization) of our sister Margaret of Città di Castello (Margherita della Metola – 1287-1320).

The life story of the newest saint of the Dominican Family is both heart-rending and heartwarming: she was born blind, had a deformed spine, one malformed arm, one leg shorter than the other, kept hidden from prying eyes throughout her childhood, and later abandoned by her parents.  She was adopted by a devout and loving family and became a Dominican tertiary (mantellata). Though she seemed in need of corporal works of mercy due to her physical condition, Blessed Margaret did inspiring corporal works of mercy: she nursed the sick, consoled the dying and visited prisoners. She was like that poor widow in the parable who gave generously even if she had almost nothing (Luke 21:1-4). Blessed Margaret was blind but she saw the goodness in people; she was born with structural leg length discrepancy, but she walked with grace, because she knew that she was walking humbly in God’s presence. Blessed Margaret loved with a magnanimous heart even if she was unloved as a child. Truly, she was a “wounded healer”, a person with disability who enabled people to become better, a rejected one who welcomed the dejected; indeed, she was a beautiful image of God’s transforming love.

The veneration of Blessed Margaret as a holy woman of God was confined within Italy and the Dominican Order until the 19th century. Thanks to the members of the Dominican family who promoted her example of holiness, she became known and venerated not only in Umbria and the Marches in Italy but also in the United States of America and the Philippines.

At the request of the Order, lay faithful and religious men and women from all over the world, and of cardinals and bishops, Pope Francis has approved the equipollent canonization of Blessed Margaret on 24 April 2021. I am grateful to the Postulation of the Order, which, from the time of fr. Innocenzo Venchi, O.P. to fr. Gianni Festa, O.P., has worked with great dedication and diligence for the elevation of our beautiful and blessed sister Margaret to sainthood.

Some of you might wonder – we have already so many saints, and our liturgical calendar is almost full of feasts and memorials, why do we continue to promote causes for sainthood?  We do so because, as fr. Gianni never tires reminding us, “the holiness of these brothers and sisters is a visible sign of the vitality and relevance of the Order!” The canonization of Margaret of Castello represents for all of us a renewed confirmation that Dominican life, in all its fullness and richness, is truly a path to holiness.

Thus, I ask the Prior Provincials and Superiors of the Dominican Family to circulate this letter, together with the accompanying brief biography of the new saint, to your respective communities, especially in the houses of formation. In particular, I encourage you to join us in prayer, on a date to be announced later, when, in Città di Castello, the official ceremony for the inscription of Blessed Margaret in the book of Saints will take place within the Eucharistic celebration, which will be presided over by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

May St. Margaret of Città di Castello intercede before the Lord for the whole Dominican Family.

fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P.
Master of the Order

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