Eucharistic Crusade

Saintly Children

Saint Margurite of Hungary {1242-1270}

Marguerite was the crown Princess of Hungary and she had been living in the convent of the Dominican Sisters at Vesprim, since she was three years old.  It had come about in this way… the wicked Tartars had come riding into Hungary, burning and killing.  King Bela IV of Hungary and the Queen were terrified!  They rode for days and days, trying to get away from the Tartars and finally they hid on a small island.  They promised to give their child to God before it was born, if their country was spared from the Tartars.  God heard their prayer and the Tartars left Hungary and went back to their own country.

Marguerite was not content with just living in the Dominican Convent, she demanded the religious habit, and received it at the age of four.  She also did penances just like the other Sisters… fasting, wearing a hairshirt, scourging herself, and praying at night. 

By the time Marguerite was five years old, she had already learned part of the Divine Office; the prayers that the Sisters chanted at different times of the day.  She was so eager to learn the Office that she often begged the Sisters to let her stay in the chapel for the chanting of the whole Office. The Sisters saw that the little girl was very serious about the whole affair, so they gave her permission.  Before long, Marguerite soon learned the Divine Office by heart and chanted it happily to herself as she went about her play.  No one but Marguerite seemed to take seriously the idea that one day she would take vows and become a professed Sister.

When Marguerite was twelve, a young Prince who had heard that she was good and beautiful, asked King Bela if he could marry his daughter.  Now in those days marriages were arranged when the children were young; so the King went to see his daughter about the affair.  But when he asked Marguerite if she was interested in getting married, she replied, "I'm sorry father to disappoint you, but I belong here with the Nuns.  I belong to Jesus."

"Now Marguerite," said her father, "your mother and I did promise you to God if you wanted to be a Nun.  We put you here in the convent when you were very young so you could learn to read and write and embroider, and to learn all the things that a Princess should know!"  But we didn't mean for you to stay here as a Nun, if you didn't want to when you got older!"

"Papa, I was given to God even before I was born, and I intend to remain faithful to that promise! Marguerite replied.  And besides, I am very happy here with the Sisters."

"Very well," said the King, "you may stay with these good Sisters and become a Nun.  I am going to build a beautiful convent for you and the Dominican Sisters on an island in the DanubeRiver, and I hope that you and the Sisters will be happy in your new convent."

Even though Marguerite was only twelve years old, she wanted to make sure that she would remain with the Dominican Sisters.  So the Mother Superior arranged for Fr. Humbert, the Master General of the Dominican Order, to come to the island to visit Marguerite.  The young girl wanted to settle the matter of her vocation for good, so she told the Priest, "Father, I am happy here with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and with the Sisters.  Please let me make my vows so that I can belong to Jesus forever!"  So in the presence of Fr. Humbert, Marguerite made her vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience to Jesus.  "Now," she thought, "I belong to Jesus; all my thoughts words and actions belong to Him.  I belong to Him forever.  Now no one will bother me any more about a royal marriage.  I am vowed to the King of kings!"

However, she was wrong!  Word spread around to different countries that there was not a Princess so good and so fair as Princess Marguerite of Hungary.  When she was eighteen, the King of Bohemia came to ask King Bela if he could marry her.

"Well, since you have come, seeking my daughters hand in marriage," King Bela replied, "I will ask the Pope if he will dispense her from the vows she has taken so she can marry you!"

The Pope granted permission for Sr. Marguerite to break her vows, and once more the girl's father tried to arrange a royal marriage for his daughter.  But when King Bela went to see Marguerite about the marriage, she replied, "Papa, once and for all, I belong to God.  I am only interested in the King of Heaven and the beautiful happiness of possessing Jesus Christ, and I don't want the crown offered to me by the King of Bohemia!"

St. Marguerite was happy in the convent, going about her work with the other Sisters.  She took her turn sweeping, washing clothes and scrubbing floors.  She also did her share of carrying water and wood, waiting on the tables when the Sisters were eating, and washing the dishes afterwards.  Marguerite was so kind and cheerful that the other Sisters always liked to work with her.  She had never been very strong, and when she was tired or sick, or the work was too heavy for her, she did not complain or leave the work for someone else to do; she went right ahead and did her work with a smile on her face.

Sr. Marguerite was always welcome in the sick room.  She had a special knack for looking after the sick, and she made it her duty to care for those who were to disagreeable for anyone else to attend.  When a Sister had a fever or a serious ailment of some sort, it was always Sr. Marguerite who was sent to help the sick person.  Somehow she always knew what to say and do to help the sick person feel more comfortable.

The holy Sister never let her duties stop her from praying.  She had special devotions to the Holy Name of Jesus, to the Holy Cross, and to Our Lady, whom she called, "Our Sweet Hope."  On the day before Christmas she would say the "Our Father" a thousand times and on the evening before any Feast of Our Lady, she would say the "Hail Mary" a thousand times!

Sr. Marguerite knew that she could never visit the holy places of Rome and Jerusalem and other countries, so she counted up the miles that lay between Hungary and these holy shrines.  Then when she wanted to go in spirit to one of these shrines, she would say a "Hail Mary" for each mile that it would take to go there and back!

Three Saints of Hungary: St. Elizabeth, St. Marguerite, St. Henry

When anyone would talk about Sr. Marguerite being a Princess or talk about the money that her family had, the holy Sister would change the subject and talk about the Saints of Hungary.  There had been several saints in her family such as St. Stephen; King of Hungary, St. Elizabeth; Queen of Hungary, and St. Hedwig.  Marguerite never tired of reading about these holy people, of trying to imitate them and of telling others about them.

Sometimes when Sr. Marguerite was praying, she would float in the air, or would seem to be asleep, when she was in ecstasy.  This was because she was praying so hard that she forgot all about the world around her and thought only about Jesus and Mary and the things of Heaven.  On Good Friday she was so overcome by the thoughts of Our Lord's Passion that she would cry all day long!

St. Marguerite died when she was only twenty-eight years old.  Before her death, she told the Sisters that she was going to Heaven in ten days, and she died on the very day that she said she would!

After her death many people came to ask her for help and at least two hundred miracles took place at her tomb.  St. Marguerite of Hungary is called upon when there is a danger of flood, because she stopped the DanubeRiver from flooding several times!

The End


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