From the moment of her birth near Florence in 1287, it was clear that Margaret’s life would be filled with extreme hardship. Disabled due to a spinal deformity and dwarfism, she was also born blind. By the age of seven she found herself abandoned by her family and left in a parish church in nearby Citta-de-Castello.
The kind souls of the city were filled with empathy for the little orphan, and, poor though they were, they took care of her – first one family and then another, sheltering and feeding her until she became the adopted child of the village. One and all declared that, far from being a burden, little Margaret brought a blessing upon those who befriended her.
At the age of fifteen, Margaret was accepted into the Dominican order, and thus embarked on a remarkable period, devoting her indomitable spirit and love to teaching children, tending to the ill, and caring for others regardless of their health, wealth or soul. Even after her death at age thirty-three, countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession.
The Castello Award, inspired by the story of “Little Margaret”, seeks to recognize individuals, families and programs – locally and nationally – that replicate the courage and compassion of the many townspeople of Citta-de-Castello, taking a chance, seeing beyond the surface, going out of their way – even if it isn’t the popular thing to do – in order to welcome and include those who some may see as different or not equal.
Past Award Winners
Archbishop Alex J. Brunett (2015)
Sr. Mary Angela Shaughnessy (2016)
Robert and Patty Hellrigel (2017)
Very Rev. James D. Picton (2018)
Michael A. Patterson (2019)