Margaret was the child of farmers of Laviano, Tuscany. Her mother died when Margaret was 7. Her father remarried, but life with her stepmother became so difficult that Margaret moved out. For nine years she lived with a man named Arsenio. Though they were not married, Margaret eventually bore him a son.
Understandably, Margaret felt guilt and doubts about her situation. One day, while she was waiting for Arsenio to return home, she was instead met by his dog. The animal led Margaret into the forest where she found Arsenio murdered. This crime shocked Margaret into a life of penance. She and her son returned to Laviano, where she was not well received by her stepmother. They then went to Cortona. There, her son eventually became a friar.
In 1277, three years after her conversion, Margaret became a Franciscan tertiary. Under the direction of her confessor, who sometimes had to order her to moderate her self-denial, she pursued a life of prayer and penance at Cortona. She established a hospital and founded a congregation of tertiary sisters.
The poor and humble Margaret was, like St. Francis, devoted to the Eucharist and to the passion of Jesus. These devotions fueled her great charity and drew sinners to her for advice and inspiration. She was canonized in 1728.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: St. Margaret of Cortona | Franciscan Media. (n.d.). Franciscan Media. Retrieved May 9, 2021, from https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-margaret-of-cortona