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St Margaret of Hungary

St Margaret of Hungary OP

Feast Day: 18 January

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Margaret of Hungary. A saint I must confess I knew very little of before I entered the Order. However she has much to say to us and we can learn a lot from her.

She was born in 1242. Her parents were Bela IV, King of Hungary and Croatia and his wife Marie Laskaris. She was offered to God by her parents before her birth, in petition that the country would be delivered from the terrible scourge of the Tartars. The King and Queen made good their promise and aged three years Margaret was sent to the Dominican convent of Vesprim, here she was trained in the arts thought fitting for royalty.

By age 18 Margaret had made up her mind that she would remain in the convent and take profession and remain a sister. Her father wanted her to marry the Bohemian King, King Ottokar II. She protested this vehemently, saying “I esteem infinitely more the king of heaven ant the inconceivable happiness of possessing Jesus Christ than the crown me by the King of Bohemia.” Having established that she was not interested in any throne but a heavenly one she continued with great joy to live an even more fervent religious life than she did before. She pronounced her vows to the Master General of the order, Blessed Humbert of Romans in 1255 and took the veil in 1261.

Now what does this have to do with me and you? Well, everything. St Margaret sets an example for us that all the riches in the world cannot compare with the wealth of graces which come from God:


And so I prayed and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came on me.

I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;compared with her, I held riches as nothing.

I reckoned no precious stone to be her equal, for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand

and beside her, silver ranks as mud.”

-Wisdom 7:7-10


These words from the Book of Wisdom are echoed by St Margaret centuries later. St Margaret did not turn down figurative jewels and riches, sceptre and throne to serve the Lord. They were very real and I suggest very tempting.

Serving the Lord is not always easy, actually it isn’t usually easy. To do so we must think counter-culturally. We must put aside the things the world tells us are valuable, the jewels, the trappings of power and pick humility, service and self sacrifice. These things are considered to be gold but we know the truth, they are a pinch of sand.

As we continue on our journeys, me on my journey of study and service, it is easy to get caught up and lose focus. I will never become powerful, famous and will definitely never be wealthy, but that isn’t what matters. It is easy to get caught up in the ways of the world and judge yourself against others. When I think I am holier, smarter, or more powerful than someone else, the reality is I am probably none of these things.


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