Sunday, July 28, 2013

St. Margaret, the Pearl of Scotland


window in St. Margaret's chapel at Edinburgh Castle

St. Margaret was born around 1045 in Hungary, in exile from England. Her brother was Edgar AEtheling, an Anglo-Saxon king, and her great uncle was Edward the Confessor. After the Norman invasion, her family wound up in Scotland, where she married the king, Malcolm III around 1069. She used her position as queen to build churches and promote pious living. She also founded an abbey, owned a relic of the True Cross, and instigated the restoration of the community on Iona. Her childhood in Hungary could have played a part in her desire to reform the Church in Scotland, making sure it conformed with the practices in Rome.

She died in Edinburgh on November 16, 1093. She was canonized in 1250. When Scotland went through its Reformation, Mary of Scots gave the head of Margaret (a relic) to Jesuits to take to France, but it was lost around the time of the French Revolution. St. Margaret’s feast day is June 10.

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