Born in Italy to a farmer.
Her mother died when she was 7 years old.
Her dad remarried a couple of years later, but unfortunately her stepmom was very mean to Margaret.
A few years later, she became involved with a cavalier and eloped with him to his castle in the hills. He showered her with gifts, wealth, fine clothing, and horses. She lived openly as his mistress for 9 years, which bereaved her father tremendously.
From that relationship, she had one son.
One day, her lover went out to survey his land but was killed.
She suddenly felt guilty for living as she had been living.
She sent his family all of his stuff and sold her own stuff to give the money to the poor.
She went to her dad to plead for forgiveness, but he would not hear it. She and her young son were turned away.
So she went to Cortona where she heard kindly friars lived, but when she arrived there she did not know where to find them. Two ladies saw her distress and took her and her son in once she told them about all that had happened. They soon took her to the Franciscan friars who began giving her spiritual guidance and financial support. It took her three years to learn how to master her passions. After this, she began to advance in her spirituality quickly.
She began returning her own thanks by learning how to nurse sick women. Soon, she was able to have her own cottage and took care of the poor and ill there. She became a third order Franciscan, and her son when he was older also became a part of the order.
When in prayer, she would receive messages that she was supposed to relay to bishops that she didn’t even know. They didn’t listen to her, but what she said would happen did.
One bishop liked the charitable works she did, so he helped her make the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy to help the poor and the ill. Other women joined her in this endeavor.
At one point, someone started slandering her and spreading rumors about her, but her reputation for being a penitent was redeemed despite the detraction.
She was very strict with her penances, i.e. wearing a hairshirt, doing vigils, sleeping on the floor, and taking the last scraps of food at mealtime.
She died when she was 50, and the town immediately recognized her as a Saint.
see references on “Authentic Femininity, Lived”