By Craig Truner for Mystic Post
St. Margaret of Cortona – 1200s. Raised by a stepmother who did not love her, Margaret later lived with the son of an Italian nobleman in his castle as his mistress. Dazzlingly beautiful, proud and waited on by servants, she loved her lavish lifestyle until her lover was found murdered, possibly by thieves. Upon this revelation, she sold her expensive jewelry and wandered homeless from the castle.
She heard a faint voice in her soul direct her to the town of Cortona, where she met the local Franciscans; they cared for her and adopted her spiritually. She embarked upon a life of penance and fasting, subsisting mostly on bread and herbs. The most singular grace that she experienced throughout her life was the voice of Jesus that spoke frequently and clearly within her, often imparting great wisdom.
Her spiritual director recorded these conversations, which became a great classic of spirituality upon her death and is still read today 800 years later. Once, when she asked Jesus to become more intimate with her, he revealed to her every sin of her life, even those she had forgotten.
She approached her spiritual director and began a general confession of her entire life, a confession that would take eight days to complete. She spent her last years at the Church of St. Basil, a hilltop ruin that overlooked Cortona. Though she had no servants to wait upon her and only bread and herbs to sustain her, she was, she said, supremely happy. Incorrupt
Craig Turner is a former Washington, D.C. journalist and is a writer on topics related to the Catholic faith. He is leading a pilgrimage this summer during the first week of August to Lourdes and Medjugorje.