Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
St. Margaret of Scotland
Feast day: November 16
Saint Margaret’s name signifies pearl, “a fitting name,” says Theodoric,
her confessor and her first biographer, “for one such as she.” Her soul
was like a precious pearl, a life spent amidst the luxury of a royal
court never dimmed its luster or estranged it from Him who had bought it
with His blood. She was the granddaughter of an English king; in 1070
she became the bride of Malcolm of Scotland, thereafter reigning as
Queen until her death in 1093.
How did she become a Saint in a position where sanctity is so difficult?
First, she burned with zeal for the house of God. She built churches and
monasteries; she occupied herself by making vestments; she could not
rest until she saw the laws of God and His Church observed throughout
her realm. Next, amid a thousand cares, she found time to converse with
God, ordering her piety with such sweetness and discretion that she won
her husband to sanctity like her own. He would rise at night to pray
with her; he loved to kiss the holy books she used, and sometimes would
take them away with him, bringing them back later to his wife covered
with jewels. Lastly, despite Saint Margaret’s great virtue, she wept
constantly over her sins and begged her confessor to correct her faults.
Saint Margaret did not neglect her duties in the world even if she was
not of the world. God blessed this marriage with eight children, six
princes and two princesses who did not fail to respond to their mother’s
teaching and examples. Never was there a better mother; she spared no
pains in their education, and their sanctity was the fruit of her
prudence and her zeal. And never was there a better queen. She was the
most trusted counselor of her husband, who always found her counsels of
great utility, and she labored with him for the spiritual and material
improvement of the land. Malcolm, after having pacified his domains for
several years, saw to the building of the cathedral of Durham and
founded a monastery at Dumfermlin.
Living in the midst of all the world’s pleasures, Saint Margaret sighed
for the true homeland and viewed death as a release. On her deathbed she
learned that her husband and their eldest son had been slain in battle.
She thanked God for sending this last affliction as a penance for her
sins. After receiving Holy Viaticum, she repeated the prayer from the
Missal, “O Lord Jesus Christ, who by Thy death didst give life to the
world, deliver me.” And at the words “deliver me,” says her biographer,
her soul took flight to Christ, in 1093, in her forty-seventh year.