Europe November Saints

Saint Margaret of Scotland

Feast Day: November 16

How To Make Rosemary Shortbread

Today we are feasting with… Saint Margaret of Scotland.

To celebrate this feast day, we are making Rosemary Shortbread. This classic cookie offers a buttery, light texture, with a deliciously sweet and savory flavor.

Margaret, the Princess

Margaret was an English princess born in Hungary to Princess Agatha of Hungary and English Prince Edward the Exile around 1045. Her siblings, Cristina and Edgar the Atheling were also born in Hungary around this time.

Margaret and her family returned to England when she was 10 years old. Her father was a potential successor to the throne, and the family had to be in England for the decision. Tragically, Edward died immediately after the family arrived, leaving Margaret and Edgar to continue residing at the English court.

Saint Margaret’s Hope

William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 forced Margaret’s family to flee England. Her widowed mother set out to take her children north to Northumbria.

In 1068, Agatha left Northumbria and returned to England. However, a storm caught her ship and drove it further north to Scotland. The ship crashed off the coast in a spot now known as “St. Margaret’s Hope.”

Margaret, the Scottish Queen

Malcolm Canmore III, the king of Scotland, welcomed Margaret and her family and put them under his protection. Soon he fell deeply in love with the beautiful and kind princess. Margaret and Malcolm married in 1070 at the castle of Dunfermline.

Together, they had eight children, six sons, and two daughters. The children were all raised in the Catholic faith. 

Margaret’s kind nature and good heart were a strong influence on Malcolm. She softened his temper and helped him become a virtuous king. Together they prayed, fed the hungry, and offered a powerful example of living faith in action. Margaret was in charge of all domestic affairs and consulted on state matters as well. She promoted the arts and education in Scotland. She encouraged Church synods and led efforts to correct the religious abuses involving Bishops, priests, and laypeople.

A Life of Holiness

Margaret constantly worked to aid the poor of Scotland. She encouraged people to live devout lives and to grow in prayer and holiness. Margaret also helped to build churches and was well-known for her deep life of prayer and piety. She did not eat often and slept very little- so that she would have more time for her devotions. Her goal was to live a life of holiness as a wife, mother, and laywoman.

Because of her impact on Scotland, people referred to Margaret as, “The Pearl of Scotland.”

Malcolm supported Margaret in all her endeavors and admired her religious devotion so much that he had her devotional books decorated in jewels, gold, and silver. One of these decorated books, a gospel book with portraits of the four evangelists, was miraculously recovered from a river. It is now kept in Oxford at the Bodleian Library.

Margaret Canonized

In 1093, Malcolm and their oldest son died during the Battle of Alnwick. Margaret, already ill and worn from a life full of austerity and fasting, passed away four days after her husband, on November 16, 1093.

Her body is buried before the high altar at Dunfermline.

In 1250, Pope Innocent IV canonized Margaret as a saint, acknowledging her life of holiness and extraordinary virtue. The Pope honored her for her work in Church reform and for her holiness.

Saint Margaret is the patron saint of Scotland.

Saint Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.

How To Make Rosemary Shortbread

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