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Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Patron Saint of "Unloved" Children

I came across this great article at The Catholic Education Resource Center. They continue to amaze me with the quality of their articles!

This great saint, Margaret of Cortona, speaks to the plights of many modern children, (and not only to those in families afflicted with divorce). I believe that the rise in, especially young, teenage promiscuity springs from the common feeling among many children that they are unloved. Parents are detached, and are very often selfishly more concerned with their own careers, lives, and pleasure than with true parenting. Children are not a blessing and the fruit of married love, but another achievement to be met, another level of status to be had. (Just think of the number of people who delay, or are advised to delay, children in marriage so that the couple might 'enjoy themselves first'.) Society teaches that life is cheap, schools promote a very utilitarian view of the world, and the culture infuses us with a practical despair that "this is all there is."

Children need to be loved, and taught to love. This happens in the family. When the family breaks down, love is sought elsewhere. What tends to be found in not love, but sex, usually with someone more than happy to exploit the neediness that is all to common in the unloved.

St. Margaret knew this all to well, and escaped the sad ending of so many who search for love in all the wrong places. Let us take this moment to pray for the unloved, the exploited, and those who should love and protect, that all may reflect and act upon the love that God has for them and loves as He wills them to love.

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God love you!
Father V.

Saint Margaret of Cortona

Saint Margaret of Cortona is an inspiration for all those in recovery who have come from homes where a step-parent resented having to care for the children of the new-found spouse.

St. Margaret of Cortona

This is very common today where people divorce and remarry, bringing their children into the relationship with a new spouse. This is especially difficult for parents who are more concerned with spousal relation ships than with the welfare of their own children. Such parents are often ignorant of the specific behaviors and dynamics inherent to divorce and step-family living. Such was the case with Margaret.

She was born in 1247 in Tuscany, the daughter of a farmer. Her mother died when Margaret was seven years old. Her father remarried. The stepmother considered Margaret a nuisance. As is very common today among children who feel unwanted, Margaret was easily drawn to a man who showed her the attention and love she craved, and so she ran off with him, bore him a son, and lived as his mistress for nine years. In 1274 he was murdered by robbers, and his body dumped in a shallow grave.

Margaret saw the incident as a sign from God. She confessed to the affair and returned to the Sacraments. She tried to return to her father's house, but he would not accept her. She and her son took refuge with the Franciscan Friars in their nearby shelter in a town called Cortona. Still young and attractive and very needy, Margaret had trouble resisting men who sensed her vulnerability and wanted to use her. Each affair was followed by periods of deep self-loathing. To make herself unappealing to local young men, she tried to mutilate herself but was stopped by a Franciscan friar named Fr. Giunta.

She earned her keep by caring for the sick poor, living on alms, asking nothing for her services. At the age of 30, having fallen in love with the Franciscan charism, of which she was a grateful beneficiary, she became a Franciscan tertiary. The sense of belonging that this commitment gave her helped Margaret develop a deep and intense prayer life and to overcome her need for attention from men.

In 1286 she received a charter to work with the sick poor. She gath ered others of like mind, and formed them into Franciscan tertia ries. They were later given the status of a congregation, and called the Poverelle (Poor Ones). Soon she founded a hospital in Cortona for the sick poor. Sharing her "experience, strength, and hope", she preached against vice to any who would listen. She gradually developed a great devotion to the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ. Her spiritual life taught her the great graces given her through her trials. She came to see the power of Christ's passion as operative in her own life, where through her per - severance in overcoming vice, through being "crucified to the world" by denying her wounded impulses, she "rose from the dead" to the new life of grace which bore great fruit for her, for the Church, and for the poor.
Drawn by her tenderness, affection, and understanding love, the poor flocked to her. And yet despite this, the sins of her earlier life followed her the rest of her life, and she was forever the target of local gossips. Margaret bore this with great equanimity, always praying for her persecutors. And so let us add Margaret of Cortona to our list of helpers.

St. Margaret of Cortona, pray for us!

Father Emmerich Vogt, O.P. "Saint Margaret of Cortona." The Twelve Step Review (Spring 2007).
Reprinted with permission from Father Emmerich Vogt, O.P.


Anonymous said...

I am a married woman and come from a divorced home, without a step parent, but I still struggle with seeking the attention of men, especially my new brothers-in-law. So, I know what she went through. I do pray to St. Margaret to help me to overcome this and become more and more reliant on God's love and attention and desirous only of my husband's attentions and affections. I have not fallen into the sin of adultery and have gotten better in that I am much more able to resist the temptations to lust and fantasize about my new brothers-in-law and about one in particular. Thanks be to God.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know a prayer or Patron Saint for difficult parents. I have not had a relationship with my mother for over ten years and I'm sorry to think she will more likely meet the same demise as Dr. Laura's mother did. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

To woman with brothers-in-law: You are already blessed in that you have not fallen into sin. For heaven's sake, stay on the right track for you are now aware of this weakness and have brought it to our attention, and God's attention. You must now stay the course.

Sarah Giltner said...

I am joining the Catholic church this Easter, and I had already chosen St. Margaret as my patroness because I had read of some of her spiritual battles and found it inspiring that she was able to work through them.
My parents are less than thrilled about my choice, and they have become more and more difficult to deal with.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I googled "saint" and "difficult parents" and found that the Saint to turn to was the one I had already chosen to protect me!

Thank you for writing this!