The Landing of St. Margaret at Queensferry
Saint Margaret of Scotland, Patron
June 10 [November 16 in Scotland]
b. 1045 D.1093
Country of Origin: Hungary
Margaret was a a daughter of Edward d' Outremer ["The Exile"], next of kin to Edward the Confessor, and sister to to Edgar the Atheling, who took refuge from William the Conqueror at the court of King Malcolm Canmore in Scotland. There Margaret, as beautiful as she was good and accomplished, captivated King Malcolm, and they were married at the castle of Dunfermline in 1070, she being twenty-four years of age. The marriage was a blessing for both Malcolm and Scotland. He was rough and uncultured but he had a good disposition; Margaret, through the influence she acquired over him, softened his temper, polished his manners, and rendered him one of the most virtuous and noble kings who have occupied the Scottish throne. To maintain justice, to establish religion, and to make their subjects happy appeared to be their chief object in life. Malcolm not only left to Margaret the whole management of his domestic affairs, but also consulted her in state matters.
What she did for her husband Margaret also did a great measure for her adopted country, promoting the arts of civilization and encouraging education and religion. She found Scotland a prey to ignorance and to many grave abuses, among both priests and laity. At her instigation synods were held which passed enactments to meet these evils. She was in attendance at these meetings and took part in the discussions. The due observance of Sundays, festivals and fasts was made obligatory, Easter Communion was enjoined upon all, and many scandalous practices, such as simony [the sale of Sacraments], usury and incestuous marriages, were strictly prohibited. St. Margaret made it her constant effort to obtain good priests and teachers for all parts of the country, and formed an embroidery guild among the ladies of the court to provide vestments and church furniture. With the King she founded several churches, notably that of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline. Dunfermline was the ancient capital of Scotland and it is located in Fife, where the it remains the gateway to that locale.
In 1093 King William Rufus surprised Alnwick castle, putting
its garrison to the sword. In the ensuing hostilities King Malcolm was
slain by treachery and also killed was his son Edward. At the same time
St. Margaret was herself on her death-bed. When her son Edgar arrived
back from Alnwick she asked how her husband and other son were. Afraid
of the effect the news might have upon her, he replied that they were
well. She exclaimed, "I know how it is!" Soon afterwards she repeated
the words, "O Lord Jesus Christ Who by Thy death hast given life to the
world, deliver me from all evil!" and breathed her last. She died four
days after her husband, on November 16, the year was 1093, and she was
The Saint was buried in the Abbey of Dunfermline which she and King Malcolm had founded. She was canonized in 1250 and declared patroness of Scotland in 1673.
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