Margaret of Cortona was born in Loviana, Tuscany, in 1247. Her mother died when she was seven and her father, a farmer, remarried. Margaret’s stepmother did not pay her much attention and she felt unloved.
Margaret eventually eloped with a young man and conceived a child out of wedlock. Nine years later her lover was murdered.
Margaret returned home penitent, but her father refused to accept her and her illegitimate son. She sought refuge with the Friars Minor at Cortona. As a result of her constant struggle with sexual temptation she attempted to mutilate her face but was restrained by a friar named Giunta.
Margaret earned a living through nursing sick women but later gave this up to nurse the poor for no pay. Eventually she joined the Third Order of St Francis and her son joined the Franciscans.
Margaret dedicated her life to prayer and claimed to be in direct contact with Jesus, experiencing frequent ecstasies and receiving personal messages from him.
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