Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

February 22 | Life Changes

Saint Margaret of Cortona

A.D. 1247–1297

Life can change in a single moment. This is not just the stuff of movies and fairy tales. Your life really can change in an instant, for better or for worse.

Some life-changing moments lift up our hearts and make us feel like we are on top of the world, but others are soul-crushing.

Saint Margaret of Cortona’s life changed in a single moment. It was a moment of the soul-crushing variety.

Margaret was born in Laviano, Italy, in 1247 to peasant parents. Her mother died when she was young, and her father remarried a woman who treated Margaret with contempt. Frustrated by this difficult environment, Margaret became a rebellious teenager.

She fell in love with a local prince named Arsenio, who took her away to his castle to be his mistress. She lived with him there for ten years, and they had a son together. 

Her life had already been uprooted multiple times, but then it all changed again in a single moment. Gugliemo’s favorite dog returned to the castle alone, acting panicked. The dog motioned for Margaret to follow it, and he led her through the forest to the body of Gugliemo. He had been murdered.

The sight of it put Margaret into shock. Terrified, she ran to her father’s house, but her stepmother said she was absolutely not allowed to return. Not knowing what to do and frightened for the safety of her young son, Margaret fled to the town of Cortona, where the Franciscans took her and her son in. 

Margaret’s son eventually became a Franciscan monk, while Saint Margaret of Cortona joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and vowed to live in poverty. 

Margarets whole life changed in the blink of an eye the day Gugliemo was killed. But it was what she did with the rest of her life, from that moment forward, that became her legacy.

Margaret became known for a life of fasting and prayer. She founded a hospital for the sick, poor and homeless. She also founded an order dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, and the members dedicated their lives to serving those at the hospital.

Life can change in a single moment, for better or for worse. But it’s what we do in the moments, days, weeks and years after that defines who we are and how we will be remembered.


I will respond to change by becoming a-better-version-of-myself.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Also Known As: Temptations, Falsely Accused People, Homeless People, Insanity, Sexual Temptation, Single Laywomen, and Loss of Parents

Feast Day: February 22

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Maximianus of Ravenna

Canonized: May 16, 1728

Canonized By: Pope Benedict XIII

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