St. Marguerite Bays, 1815-79
FEAST: JUNE 27
Despite illness and suffering, St. Marguerite Bays still asked, “What can we do to love God more?”
Marguerite was born in 1815 to farmers in Switzerland; she was very pious from a young age, spending a great deal of time serving and adoring the Lord. Between working on her family farm and her job as a seamstress, her days were interspersed with prayer at her altar dedicated to the Blessed Mother, daily Mass, and teaching children who visited the farm about the life of Jesus. Marguerite often visited the sick and poor, whom she referred to as “favorite friends of the Lord.” She brought them food from the farm and even mended their clothes. Instead of pursuing religious life as her friends and family encouraged her to do, Marguerite became a member of the Secular Franciscan Order.
She developed intestinal cancer while in her 30s. Marguerite asked for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession, praying to align her suffering more closely with that of Jesus. And suffer like Christ she did, because although she was miraculously cured of the cancer on the same day Pope Pius IX pronounced the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, she began experiencing the stigmata every Friday, physically and spiritually reliving Christ’s Passion.
Despite her own pain and sufferings, Marguerite never showed signs of distress. She united her suffering to that of Christ’s, offering it up and uniting it with Jesus as she continued to pray for the faith and salvation of others. She died in 1879 on a Friday at 3 p.m., and was canonized by Pope Francis in 2019.
By Candace Bryant-Lester, art by Matt Watters