Dominicana – Blessed Margaret of Hungary, Virgin

Saint Margaret of HungaryIn the year 1242, Hungary was governed by a devout king, Bela IV. His territories were overrun by hordes of Tartars, whose sacrileges and cruelties filled the entire kingdom with scenes of bloodshed and violence. In their distress, Bela and his Queen vowed to dedicate their first daughter to the service of God, if He would grant them victory over their enemies. Then, full of trust in the Divine goodness, Bela led his little army against the Tartars, who were utterly defeated and driven from the country. Margaret’s birth occurred shortly afterwards, and in consequence of her parents’ vow she was taken to the Dominican Convent of Vesprim, when only three years old. Even at that tender age she showed extraordinary signs of devotion. In less than six months she knew the Office of our Lady by heart, merely from hearing the Sisters recite It. She was clothed in the religious habit on her fourth birthday, on which occasion she was shown a crucifix and she asked for some explanation of the sacred symbol. On hearing that it represented Jesus Christ, who shed His blood for us even to the last drop, she immediately covered it with kisses, exclaiming, “Lord, I give and abandon myself to Thee forever.” Her parents built a magnificent monastery for her in an island of the Danube, about a mile from Buda, and thither she removed with several other Sisters when she had attained the age of ten. When she was twelve years old, she made her solemn profession in the hands of Blessed Humbert, the General of the Order. Her parents afterwards obtained a Papal dispensation in order to marry Her to the King of Bohemia, but this only gave Margaret an opportunity of showing that her religious life was the result of her own free choice, for no prayers or entreaties would Induce her to Quit the cloister. In order to protect herself from further annoyances of this kind, she was solemnly veiled aad consecrated to God according to the rite given In the Roman Pontifical, in presence of the Archbishop of Strigonia and a number of other prelates. This ceremony took place at the altar of her aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Blessed Margaret looked upon herself as the vilest person in the Convent and rendered the most menial services, not only to her Sisters, but even to the servants. It was her delight to wash the dishes, sweep the house, and discharge the lowest domestic duties. She had a tender love for the poor and wept when she had no alms to bestow an them. But it was above all upon her sick Sisters that she poured forth the treasure of her charity, claiming it £s her right to render them all tne most loathsome and impulsive services which their condition might require.

Her life was one of continual prayer and hard labor and she practiced the most austere penance. Her tender love for the Divine Spouse made her hunger after a share iu His suffering” and humiliations, and she often compelled her companions to scourge her with pitiless severity. Her habit was worn out at the knees and elbows by her genuflexions and prostrations. She thirsted for martyrdom; and, on hearing a rumor that the Tartars were about to invade Hungary, she exclaimed: “I pray God that my father’s kingdom may be spared so terrible a scourge; nevertheless, if they are to come, I trust that they will come here, that we may receive our crown at their hands.” Her love for our Blessed Lady was so great, that, at the mere sound of the name Mary, she would fall upon her knees and bow her head to the dust. to do honor to her whom she delighted in saluting as “The Mother of God and my hope.”

Blessed Margaret died at the age of twenty-eight. Almost innumerable miracles have ben worked through her intercession. Petitions were repeatedly presented to the Holy See for her beatification, and Plus VII. extended to the Order of Saint Dominic the permission to celebrate her festival, which was already kept In many churches.

– text taken from the January 1903 issue of Dominicana magazine, author not listed