Saint Margaret Clitherow

St. Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586), also called Margaret of York, lived in York, England, the daughter of a candlemaker and wife of a wealthy Protestant butcher. She was raised Anglican just after the time that King Henry VIII severed the Church of England from communion with the Roman Catholic Church. A few years after her marriage, at the age of 18, she converted to the Catholic Church due to the work of covert missionary Catholic priests. While her husband remained Protestant, she aided persecuted Catholics by sheltering priests (which included her brother-in-law) and having Mass and Confessions said in her home, which became a safe house and hiding place for priests. Margaret witnessed the tortuous death of many of the priests she aided, and she would publicly pray on the spot of their martyrdom. Undaunted in her work, she was imprisoned numerous times. On her final arrest she was charged for harboring Catholic priests and was condemned to a public execution by being crushed to death, a martyrdom of which she considered herself unworthy. All three of her children entered the religious life, two priests and a nun. St. Margaret Clitherow, the "Pearl of York," is the patron saint of martyrs, businesswomen, and converts. Her feast day is March 26th.

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