November 16

Saint Margaret of Scotland

Optional Memorial

Optional memorial, 1969 Calendar, celebration November 16.
1955 Calendar, St. Gertrude the Great, virgin

St. Margaret of Scotland was probably born about 1045 in Hungary in a royal family. Her father was the English prince Edward the Exile. Margaret came with her father to England but on his death and the conquest of England by the Normans, her family decided to return to the Continent. The legend tells us that a storm drove their ship to Scotland where King Malcolm III took them under his protection.

Margaret married Malcolm some time between 1067 and 1070, this event being delayed by her desire to devote herself entirely to the faith. After her marriage, she used her influence as queen in the name of the Catholic faith. She built several churches including the Abbey of Dunfermline, she cared for pilgrims and the poor, and she dedicated the rest of her life to the cause of religion and piety.

Her most treasured jewelry was a Gospel Book that legend says was dropped in a river and recovered much later undamaged. This Gospel book is now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

Margaret had eight children and she trained them in the ways of God. She worked zealously to get Scottish religious practices into line with disciplines of Rome, to stop abuses, to reestablish the proper ritual of the Mass and the rules for Lenten fasting and Easter Communion.

St. Margaret of Scotland died on November of 1093, three days after her son and husband were killed in a battle. She is the patron saint of death of children, learning, second patron of Scotland, widow.

Margaret’s confessor, Turgot, wrote:
“Queen Margaret was a virtuous woman, and in the sight of God she showed herself to be a pearl, precious in faith and works.”

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