St. Margaret of Hungary

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

St. Margaret was born to Emperor Bela IV and Mary Lascaris in 1242. She was placed in the Monastery of Veszprem for her education and later, she received the Dominican habit in Buda. She made profession to Humbert of Romans, fifth Master General, at a meeting of the General Chapter at Buda in 1254. Margaret lived a life totally dedicated to Christ crucified and inspired her sisters by her asceticism, works of mercy, pursuit of peace and humble service. A vivid picture of her characteristics is furnished in her acts of canonization by the nuns who lived with her. She lived in total humility, engaging in the most menial tasks even in the winter when her hands bled from the cold. She constantly fasted and refused nice clothes and royal comforts, remarking that she preferred the odor of sanctity when dead to smelling sweet only when alive. She spent her days in prayer, devotion to the Eucharist, and caring for the poor, lavishing on them whatever gifts her royal family sent her. She died in 1270, and Pope Pius XII canonized her in 1943.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.