For Saint Margaret—a wife, a mother, and a queen—giving money was never enough. She was with those who were poor, making sure they had food and clothes. Margaret was born about 1045. She was raised in the Hungarian court, for she was from the line of nobility. When she was 12, she was sent to the English court of Edward the Confessor and further educated. When the Normans conquered England, Margaret, her mother, her brother, and her sister tried to return to Hungary. Their ship was blown off course and landed in Scotland. They were welcomed by King Malcolm III, who fell in love with the beautiful and gentle Margaret. They were married in 1070.
Scotland was a rough country, and although Malcolm was a good man, he was more of a soldier than a scholar or courtly gentleman. But Margaret helped him become a virtuous, gracious leader. They had eight children; all of them grew to love those who were poor and to care for them as their parents had. The youngest, David, was thought of as a saint by the people.
Margaret was prayerful. She gathered women together to study the Scriptures and to embroider vestments and altar cloths. She was always surrounded by beggars, and she gave them money and clothes. She helped ransom the English who had been captured, and she set up homes and hospitals for those in need. She and her husband would go to church during Lent and Advent. On the way home, they would wash the feet of poor people in need and give them money. At home, Margaret fed nine orphans who were brought to her daily. She brought a love of the arts and education to the people, and they loved her in return. Her children are believed to be primarily responsible for two centuries of progress and peace in Scotland.
Margaret died four days after her husband’s death in 1093. In 1250, she was canonized and later declared patroness of Scotland.
Have the students make a “My Family” booklet about their family members, family schedule, holiday customs, and so on. Suggest that the students recommend ways their families can grow spiritually.
Margaret did much to educate the Celtic clergy and the people. She encouraged the meeting of synods and helped bring back an understanding of Lenten fasts, the need for Communion, and proper marriage laws. Review the precepts of the Church.
Image credit: Sainte Marguerite by Edward Burne-Jones, 1894. Public Domain via Wikimedia.