St. Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093)
November 16, 2006
Margaret was the daughter of Prince Edward Atheling, Anglo-Saxon heir to the English throne, and Princess Agatha of Hungary, born in 1045. Her great-uncle was the English king, Edward the Confessor, in whose court she spent most of her youth whilst being taught to be a devout Christian by the local Benedictine nuns.
Margaret fleed William the Conqueror with her family by boat, leaving London and landing at St.Margaret's Hope in Orkney. the family then travelled south to Dunfermline where Malcolm was King. Malcolm befriended Margaret and eventually married her in 1070.
Margaret and Malcom had six sons and two daughters, all of whose education, religious and otherwise was overseen by Margaret.
Despite playing a strong role in the affairs of the country under Malcolm, her private life was humble and uncomplicated. She was so dedicated to her beliefs, she barely ate or slept in favour of prayer and reading. During two lents in which she participated (before Easter and Christmas), she would attend mass at midnight and wash the feet of the poor. She would never herself eat without first feeding orphans.
During her life, she promoted education, built schools, instigated synods, founded several churches and established abbeys before dying in 1093 during illness, four days after Malcolm was killed during a surprise attack by King Willium Rufus on Alnwick Castle.
Margaret was so loving and generous towards the poor, constantly displaying outstanding charity, that she was highly missed by the Scots. She was canonised as Saint Margaret of Scotland in 1250 and is observed and celebrated on November 16 in Scotland.