Margaret Colonna, Bl.
MARGARET COLONNA, BL.
Mystic; b. Rome, Italy, c. 1254–55; d. there, Dec. 30, 1280. She was the daughter of Odo Colonna and Margaret Orsini and first cousin to the future nicholas iii (see colonna). Left an orphan about the age of 11, she was placed under the guardianship of her oldest brother, Giovanni, who later became a Roman senator. On the advice of her brother Giacomo (d. 1318), she refused all marriage proposals and left Palestrina on March 6, 1273, for the castle of San Pietro. She took the habit and adopted the way of life of the poor clares without actually entering into the order, and some pious young ladies soon joined her. Margaret, an intelligent and practical girl, led an exemplary life nursing the sick and giving generously of her resources to the poor. She was blessed with mystical visions, and after her death many miracles were observed at her grave. Her brother Giovanni reputedly wrote her biography, and Giacomo, after 1278 a cardinal, promoted her cause for canonization. On Sept. 24, 1285, the sisters who had joined her were transferred from the castle of San Pietro to the convent of San Silvestro in Rome, where they adopted the rule followed by the Clares of the Abbey of Longchamp near Paris. In 1875 they moved to the convent of S. Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome. Margaret's cult became widespread, but all proceedings for her canonization came to a standstill during the crisis of 1297–98 between the Colonna and boniface viii. In the 15th century her relics were venerated in San Silvestro, and in 1605 a silver reliquary bust was donated by Giovanna Pignatelli-Colonna. In 1847 an immemorial cult was approved, and the following year her feast was included in the Franciscan Breviary. The same Office has been used in the Diocese of Palestrina since 1883.
Feast: November 7 (formerly December 30).
Bibliography: g. colonna, B. Margherita Colonna, ed. l. oliger (Rome 1935). leo of clary, Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of St. Francis, v.4 (Taunton 1887) 70–73. Vies des saintes et des bienheuruex 12:798–799. f. bock, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10v. (Freiburg 1957–65) 3:10.