Cortona, Italy: Sanctuary of Saint Margaret of Cortona
About Saint Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297):
An example of one who transformed herself from sinner to saint, Margaret of Cortona had an unfortunate childhood during which her mother died when she was seven, and then her father re-married to a woman who was unkind to her to say the least. In this environment Margaret sought love elsewhere, and at age 16 she ran off with an aristocrat who, although she bore his son, never would commit to marrying her.
She tended to flaunt her wealth to those less fortunate and ended up with little love or respect either from the local population or her own family.
A turning point came when her husband was found murdered, and she decided to renounce her lifestyle that seemed so empty. She gave up her wealth and tried to make amends with her father. Unfortunately she was unable to do so due to her stepmother’s hostility, and she once again found herself alone.
With only God to depend upon, she went to Cortona with her son where they were offered shelter by two women. She later tended to the sick and poor of Cortona, while her son eventually took vows as a Franciscan monk.
Margaret became an example of God’s forgiveness and although there were later rumors criticizing her, she was graced with visions from Christ. She was known by her fellow friars as “the Franciscan Mary Magdalene”.
Her Feast Day was originally celebrated on February 22…the date of her death; however, it was moved to May 16, due to the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter of Antioch being on February 22.
Cortona is one of the many hill towns in Tuscany, notable for their natural beauty.
About the convent in Cortona:
In the church of Santa Margherita you can view the incorrupt body of Saint Margaret of Cortona. hundreds of reports of miracles, both physical and spiritual, were reported by those who came here to adore her.
You may also wish to visit the Franciscan convent that contains the cell where Saint Francis slept (on a stone bed) when he came here to preach in 1211. It is about a 45 minute walk from the Church and also has a small gift shop. It is a beautiful place to pray and meditate.
Traveling to Cortona:
You can reach Cortona by train from Florence, Rome or other cities.
You take the train as far as Comucia-Cortona and then you can take a bus from the station to the town itself. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
Of course it is easily reachable by car as well.
Address: Piazza Santa Margherita, Cortona AR, Italy
GPS coordinates: 43° 16′ 28.9668” N, 11° 59′ 33.7920” E
Click here for the Diocesan website link
Click here for the Cortona Tourism website link