July 20, 2006

St. Margaret - July 20

The church I belong to is named for St. Margaret of Cortona, but a stained glass depicting St. Margaret of Antioch inside reminds me how the church's early history confused the two Margarets. The official history makes no mention of this, merely saying, "The church was dedicated to Saint Margaret, who was the Patron Saint of Pettorano sul Gizio, Abruzzi, Italy, from where a number of families living in the area had emigrated. The area was then called and it is still called the VILLAGE OF SAN MARGHERITA, which is the Italian name of Saint Margaret." It was assumed the St. Margaret was Cortona when it was actually the other Margaret. Or vice-versa. Maybe we could just be called "St. Margarets".

  "This same day brings before us a rival of the warrior-martyr, St. George: Margaret, like him victorious over the dragon, and like him called in the Menaea of the Greeks, the Great Martyr. The cross was her weapon; and, like the soldier, the virgin, too, consummated her trial in her blood. They were equally renowned in those chivalrous times when valor and faith fought hand in hand for Christ beneath the standard of the saints. So early as the seventh century our Western island rivaled the East in honoring the pearl drawn from the abyss of infidelity. Before the disastrous schism brought about by Henry VIII, the Island of Saints celebrated this feast as a double of the second class; women alone were obliged to rest from servile work, in gratitude for the protection afforded them by St. Margaret at the moment of childbirth—a favor which ranked her among the saints called in the Middle Ages auxiliaries or helpers. But it was not in England alone that Margaret was invoked, as history proves by the many and illustrious persons of all countries who have borne her blessed name." - from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

Update:It looks like the date of our parish festival is in some part due to the error in Margarets. The full story:
"When the parishioners first requested consideration from Bishop Hartley for a new church (back in 1921). The request was granted. Most of the Italians living along Trabue Rd. were from the area of Italy where St. Margaret of Cortona was from. When they requested the name of San Marguarita, or St. Margaret, there are 5 different Saints with the name of Margaret. Bishop Hartley was unsure of which St. Margaret but knew that St. Margaret of Antioch was Italian. He granted permission for the of St. Margaret. It was not learned of the error in names until the dedication of the church when the Bishop said "St. Margaret of Antioch", whose Feast day is in July."

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