Margaret of Hungary (1242–1270)

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Margaret of Hungary (1242–1270)

Dominican nun, saint, and mystic . Name variations: Saint Margaret of Hungary. Born in 1242 in Dalmatia; died on January 18, 1270, in what is now Budapest, Hungary; daughter of Béla IV (b. 1206), king of Hungary (r. 1235–1270), and Queen Maria Lascaris (fl. 1234–1242); never married; no children.

Margaret of Hungary, born in Dalmatia in 1242, dedicated her existence to God at an early age, and, although she was the daughter of a king, lived a life of extreme asceticism and humility. Born while her parents were fleeing the Mongol invasion of Hungary, Margaret was promised to the church as an infant. At age three, she was given to the care of a community of Dominican nuns at Veszprém, and she made her formal religious vows at age 12. Margaret resisted pressure to return to the secular life, moving to another Dominican nunnery established by her parents on an island in the Danube. The island, now part of the city of Budapest, is called Margaret Island after her. She was determined to receive no special favors because of her royal birth and resolutely subjected herself to the most menial and squalid tasks as an expression of her devotion to God. Margaret's health was so weakened by her extreme asceticism, in particular her frequent fasts and refusal to sleep, that she died at the age of 28. Her feast day is January 26.

Dr. K. E. Garay , McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada