About Saint Margaret of Scotland

Our church is named for St. Margaret of Scotland. While the Episcopal Church does not teach that we should worship or pray to saints, we do look to them as examples of others, imperfect humans like ourselves, who have lived godly lives. Here is a little background on our Margaret:

Saint Margaret of ScotlandMargaret was born about the year 1045. Her father, the English Prince Edward, was in exile and had married a German princess, probably a niece of the wife of Saint Stephen, king of Hungary. Margaret was brought up in the Hungarian court, and there she must have gained that insight into just and saintly rule that was to be the mark of her own sanctity.

When she came to England at the age of about twelve it was to the court of another saint, Edward the Confessor. With the Norman Conquest in 1066, Margaret and her mother, with her brother and her sister, were again exiled, and sought refuge in Scotland. Although he was at the time at war with their own country, the Scottish King, Malcolm Canmore, received the exiles kindly.

Malcolm Canmore, whose name means 'The Great Ruler,' was a powerful and able king. He fell in love with the gentle Margaret and eventually, for her wish had been to enter a convent, persuaded her to marry him. Their life together is described in some detail in a memoir, probably written by Margaret's confessor, Turgot, later bishop of St Andrews. It is an enchanting story of the impact of a young woman of wisdom and holiness upon a husband whose background was altogether rougher and less educated, but who aspired towards the holiness manifest in his wife.

Margaret spent much of her time and money on works of charity, herself attending on the poor, the aged, the orphans and the sick. She supervised the making of vestments and fine things for the church. She was an admirable mother.

Margaret is also remembered for solving the problem facing the church in the Scotland of her day. Cut off by pagan invasion, the Celtic church had come to differ on points of procedure with Rome, and it was Margaret's personal achievement to reconcile the conflicting elements by bringing the Celtic church in Scotland back to conformity. This she did in such a way as to avoid schism or bitterness.

Whereas in England the Norman Conquest left a legacy of bitterness, the comparatively peaceful infusion of medieval culture into Scotland under Margaret and her sons was effected in such a manner as to bring a veritable golden age to Scotland, that lasted for two hundred years after Margaret's death. She died in Edinburgh Castle, and died, like so many saints, at a time when all that she had worked for seemed lost; her husband was killed in battle and rebel forces were attacking Edinburgh. But three of her sons succeeding to the throne in turn, their mother's work was reinforced and brought to fullness. Margaret is remembered therefore, not just as an able queen, but also as a notable example of Christian motherhood.