In Praise of Timely Signs

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Pontifications (Blog) | 0 comments

Nearly a year ago, we lost our precious Margaret to unforeseen Down Syndrome in the early hours of what was, by our planning, to be her birthday. A week later, we returned her to the earth, her soul already having passed to the mercy of our God who calls the children to Himself. A week later still, our thirdborn son, himself the child of a saintly intervention, randomly blurted out, “there’s a St. Margaret who is patron of Down Syndrome.”

Jennie and I were flummoxed. We’re both degreed in theology and familiar with a diverse cast of saints, but neither of us could think whom he might be referring to.

“Whom do you mean?” We asked.

“I don’t remember,” he said, “just that her name was Margaret and she was the saint for Down Syndrome. I learned it in CCD.”

So we did what any parent would do: we Googled.

Blessed — not yet “Saint” — Margaret of Castello was a disabled child of noble birth. Cruelly imprisoned from the public and later abandoned by her ashamed — and shameful — parents, she eventually wound up as a Third Order Dominican who performed her first posthumous miracle no later than her funeral.

We were shocked at the timing of our son’s outburst. Jennie and I had not chosen a specific Margaret after whom to name our own; in an instant, we knew that she had always been, in God’s plan, named for Margaret of Castello.

This past summer, a former theology student of mine, now a seminarian at the North American College in Rome, ventured to her shrine in Perugia to pray to her on our behalf — a mercy for which we are forever grateful. Not long after, I started hearing unconfirmed rumors that Blessed Margaret would be canonized soon. These surprised me, as she had been beatified in 1609 and was previously completely unknown to me.

What could have prompted this sudden interest in Blessed Margaret? I don’t know, but that after 400 years, it would happen within a year of our Catholic family losing our own beloved Maggie, similarly disabled but loved and cherished as Blessed Margaret should have been, I had to take as a sign of hope from heaven.

It has now been confirmed that the canonization is scheduled and our little girl’s patroness will be SAINT Margaret of Castello on September 19, 2021.

I wish that we could attend her canonization. What a blessing that would be! But in lieu of such a thing, I ask anyone reading who might have the connections: please beg our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to name her a patroness of Down Syndrome among other disabilities. So many children with Down Syndrome are aborted, so many others lost to loving parents who only wanted to hold them. Our world needs a saint to fight for the babies of Trisomy 21.

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Micah Murphy

Micah Murphy

Humorist, cartoonist, general pain in the ist

Born from the mind of a neurotically serious Catholic heaven-bent on choosing to laugh at his own folly, Thy Geekdom Come is the endeavor of Micah Murphy, academia nut by day, mediocre cartoonist by night, but ever the geek-of-all-trades. He brings to this work his B.A. in theology, catechetics, and Latin, his M.Ed. in Curriculum, and – far more relevantly – his years of experience as a lay Catholic in ministry. His hope is to bring everyone a laugh through the gift of humility that allows us to take ourselves lightly. Micah lives in the Diocese of Shreveport, LA, with his wife and their flock of billy goats – NO! Children. Children. Please treat him to coffee before engaging in conversation.

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Micah Murphy

Micah Murphy

Cartoonist, humorist, general pain in the ist

Born from the mind of a neurotically serious Catholic heaven-bent on choosing to laugh at his own folly, Thy Geekdom Come is the endeavor of Micah Murphy, academia nut by day, mediocre cartoonist by night, but ever the geek-of-all-trades. His hope is to infuse into Catholic discourse a gravely needed levity. Micah lives in the Diocese of Shreveport, LA, with his wife and their flock of children. When seriousness is called for, he also has a B.A. in Theology & Catechetics (and a Latin minor) and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, but try not to hold it against him.

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