The Church remembers St. Margaret of Scotland on November 16 each year. She was a holy and devout woman who also used her influence to spread Christianity throughout Scotland.
Here are seven facts about this remarkable woman that you may not know!
She is called the “Apostle of Scotland”
While Scotland was first evangelized by St. Columba in the 6th century, by the time St. Margaret became queen in the 11th century, few practiced the Catholic faith.
It became her mission to not only convert her husband to Christianity, but to also reinvigorate the clergy and encourage the people to abandon their barbarous ways.
On account of her missionary zeal, many have called her the “Apostle of Scotland.”
She is the patron of large families
While St. Margaret was an active queen, she also was a devoted mother. She had eight children, six sons and two daughters. As a result, she became known as the “patron of large families.”
She ate her food only after the poor ate
St. Margaret dearly loved the poor and surrounded herself with them every day. In fact, she refused to eat breakfast until the poor ate their breakfast.
She took seriously the Gospel and was a devoted servant of the poor.
She started her day in prayer
Prayer was an essential part of St. Margaret’s life. She woke-up before anyone else in the royal household and went down to the chapel to pray.
There she prayed for several hours on her knees, remaining in deep prayer before anyone else was awake.
She cared for orphans as if they were her children
War made many orphans in her kingdom, and when the Queen met an orphan, she quickly made sure they were cared for, as the book St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland explains.
Nine little orphans were brought up at the Queen’s expense and these she cared for herself throughout the penitential seasons. They were brought to her at an early hour and she loved to wash and dress and feed them taking the very little ones on her knee as tenderly as if they had been her own children and feeding them with the spoon she used herself.
Her favorite place to pray was in a cave
St. Margaret’s Cave is a simple cave where she would spend much of her time in prayer. It was a beautiful place of natural beauty that was also tucked-away from everything else.
Today it is below a car park in Scotland.
She freed any slaves her husband brought back in war
Her husband frequently went to war and would bring back captives with him. St. Margaret would then spend any money she had to free those slaves, or do whatever she could to lessen their captivity.