Lifelong CatechesisForming Catholic identity across generations
For a large part of the liturgical year, we devote ourselves to listening to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects unfolded as we seek God's truth and understanding.
Margaret of Scotland, Queen and Mother, 1045-1093
Margaret was born in Hungary, the daughter of royal parents. Brought to the court of King Edward the Confessor in England when she was twelve, she and her family were forced to flee after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Shipwrecked off Scotland, they were befriended by King Malcolm of Scotland who married Margaret in 1070.
Margaret and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Contrary to the general practice of royalty in that time, Margaret took charge of raising and educating her children. The youngest son, Saint David of Scotland, succeeded his father and two older brothers as king. One daughter, who became known as Good Queen Maud, married King Henry I establishing a line which runs through the present royal family of England.
King Malcolm was good-hearted, but rough and uncultured. Because of his love for Margaret, she was able to soften his temper and she became his advisor in state matters. It was said that the main goals of Malcolm and Margaret were to maintain justice, to establish religion, and to keep their subjects happy. Margaret encouraged arts and education in her adopted country and instigated religious reform. With her husband, she founded several churches.
Despite her heavy involvement in the affairs of her household and her country, Margaret led an austere private life. She ate sparingly and slept little in order to have time for her devotions. She and her husband kept two Lents - one before Easter and one before Christmas. At these times, Margaret, often joined by Malcolm, would arise before midnight to attend Mass. On her way home, she would tend to the poor. Margaret was always surrounded by beggars and never refused them. Especially during Advent and Lent, Margaret and her husband often fed hundreds of poor people, serving them the same food that they had for their own meal.
Saint Margaret is the patroness of Scotland. She is honored by an optional memorial on November 16.
Margaret's message today: A heavy responsibility falls on those who have been given exalted positions. Margaret and her husband recognized the need to provide for those who were less fortunate than themselves. We too must do the same.