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The Life of Saint Margaret of Cortona

translated by Thomas Renna and Shannon Larson

Publication Year: 2012

Saint Margaret of Cortona is the light of the Third Order of Francis. Such is the theme of the most extensive biography of any Franciscan Tertiary in the Middle Ages. Margaret’s extraordinary career brings the historian closer to the early development of the Franciscans and the Order of Penance; it tells us much about how women saints were described, and about how civic cults of saints emerged. Another window, although a smaller one, opens to the tensions between the Franciscan Community and the Spiritual Franciscans before the split prior to Pope John XXII. Indeed it could be said that we know more about Margaret of Cortona than about any woman of thirteenth-century Italy, with the exception of Clare of Assisi and Clare of Montefalco. This edition is translated from the critical Latin edition by Fortunato Iozzelli, O.F.M. of The Life of Saint Margaret of Cortona by Fra Giunta Bevegnati. The original translation by Thomas Renna has been edited by Shannon Larson.

Published by: Franciscan Institute Publications

Title Page

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Front Matter

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Preface

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pp. 5-8

When Paul Lachance, O.F.M., mentioned to me in 1996 that a critical edition of the Life of St. Margaret of Cortona was forthcoming, I immediately decided to translate it as soon as the work became available. The superb critical Latin edition (1997) is by Fortunato...

Table of Contents

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pp. 7-

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Introduction

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pp. 9-42

Saint Margaret of Cortona is the light of the Third Order of Francis. Such is the theme of the most extensive biography of any Franciscan Tertiary in the Middle Ages. Margaret’s extraordinary career brings the historian closer to the early development of the Franciscans and the Order of Penance; it tells us much about...

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Prologue

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pp. 43-44

Here begins the legenda concerning the life and miracles of blessed Margaret of Cortona. I considered it to be sufficiently advantageous to gather for fervent minds not all—for that would not be possible—but certain flowers concerning the admirable life of Margaret, who was exceptionally...

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Chapter - I Concerning Her Way of Life in the Secular Habit

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pp. 45-50

1a. Devoted to Christ, pure of mind, fervent of heart, Margaret, in the one-thousandth, two-hundredth, and seventy-seventh year from the birth of Christ, in tears, with joined hands and knees bent, with a great insistence of prayers, humbly and...

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Chapter II - Concerning Her Complete Conversion to God

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pp. 51-74

1a. After Margaret had received the habit of penance from the Friars Minor, she seemed to be a new woman through the infusion of the Holy Spirit. The heavenly fire of love transformed her so that from then on she strove with ardent care to find a solitary...

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Chapter III - Concerning the Austerity of Her Life and Her Zeal for Poverty

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pp. 75-82

1. The Divine Goodness, the teacher of all virtues, presented this lesson to the persistently prayerful Margaret, saying: “My daughter, if you desire to follow in the footsteps of the Magdalene and share in her consolations, because all your prideful acts against me have provoked my wrath, you must forsake all those...

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Chapter 4 - Her Profound Humility

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pp. 83-104

1. Margaret the servant of God attained a high level of humility by meditating unceasingly on her faults. She accused herself out loud of having violated God’s laws and having brought scandal to her neighbors. With tears and sobs she invoked the saints to obtain remission of her sins. She even asked secular...

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Chapter 5 - Meditation on the Passion of Christ

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pp. 105-148

1. While Margaret was meditating on the cross of the triumphant Jesus, who suffered for us, Jesus called her to battle, saying: “Prepare yourself for combat and to endure injuries and difficulties throughout your life. Just as gold is purified in a furnace..

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Chapter 6 - On Her Devout Prayer

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pp. 149-176

1. Margaret was especially fond of celebrating the solemn feasts of the saints and commending herself to their prayers. On the night of the Conversion of St. Paul, being united in spirit with God, she said: “It is just, reasonable, and fitting, my Savior, that I serve...

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Chapter 7 - Purity of Conscience and Frequent Confession and Comm union

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pp. 177-204

1. After her conversion, Margaret, the little plant of the Friars Minor and the servant of Christ, used to confess at least once a day. When one of her sins would come to mind, she would, with tears and sighs, reveal this to any companions who were with her...

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Chapter 8 - Her Maternal Piety and Zeal for Souls

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pp. 205-226

1. Like an affectionate mother, Margaret was full of piety and zeal for the well-being and salvation of everyone. One day, when she was ill and sitting on her stool, she was wearing only a coarse wool cloak [taculino], even though it was winter. The Lord revealed...

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Chapter 9 - The Revelation of Secrets

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pp. 227-280

1. A noble and devout lady had an only son, who was dying. In the hope of obtaining his recovery, she commended him with tears to the servant of God. Being moved by compassion and by gratitude for the great devotion this lady had for her, Margaret turned to the Lord, who said: “You have shown more compassion...

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Chapter 10 - Her Indescribable Fear Concerning All That She Bore, and Her Desire for Her Death

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pp. 281-302

1. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was on very familiar terms with the servant of God, Margaret. He revealed to her in full confidence which creatures, invisible or human, would have to suffer (by being ill or in some other way), and which would receive graces and consolations. After such familiar...I would like to list here the miracles God has performed in recognition of the merits of the blessed Margaret. These miracles are intended for people with hardened hearts in order to attract them...

Chapter 11 - Miracles

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pp. 302-326

Appendix

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pp. 327-328

Bibliography

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pp. 329-336

INDEX OF SCRIPTURE

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pp. 337-344


E-ISBN-13: 9781576593028
E-ISBN-10: 1576593029
Print-ISBN-13: 9781576593011
Print-ISBN-10: 1576593010

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: First

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Subject Headings

  • Margherita, da Cortona, Saint, 1247-1297.
  • Christian women saints -- Italy -- Biography.
  • Women mystics -- Italy -- History.
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