Saturday, November 15, 2008

St Margaret of Scotland

St Margaret of Scotland. Feast day tomorrow. Thomas and I are thinking of making shortbread, in her honour. A Scottish delight.

"When [Margaret] spoke, her conversation was with the salt of wisdom. When she was silent, her silence was filled with good thoughts. So thoroughly did her outward bearing correspond with the staidness of her character that it seemed as if she has been born the pattern of a virtuous life" (Turgot, St. Margaret's confessor).
I need to work on my conversation...the salt of wisdom??

Margaret was married to Malcolm, the royal Malcolm mentioned in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Margaret was born in 1046 and was a member of an ancient English royal family. She was a direct descendant of King Alfred and was the granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside of England through his son Edward.

Along with her family Margaret had been exiled to the eastern continent when King Canute and his Danish army had overrun England. Beautiful and devout she was also intelligent receiving her formal education in Hungary.

The Scottish King, Malcolm III, known as Malcolm Canmore (or Great Head) offered his protection to the royal family.

Malcolm was particularly protective towards Margaret! She initially refused his proposals of marriage, preferring, according to one account, a life of piety as a virgin. Malcolm however was a persistent king, and the couple finally married in Dunfermline in 1069.

Their union was exceptionally happy and fruitful for both themselves and the Scottish nation. Margaret brought with her some of the finer points of current European manners, ceremony and culture to the Scottish Court, which highly improved its civilised reputation.

Queen Margaret was renown for her moderating and good influence on her husband and also for her devout piety and religious observance.

Under Queen Margaret's leadership Church councils promoted Easter communion and, much to joy of the working-class, abstinence from servile work on a Sunday. Margaret founded churches, monasteries and pilgrimage hostels and established the Royal Mausoleum at Dunfermline Abbey with monks from Canterbury. She was especially fond of Scottish saints and instigated the Queen's Ferry over the Forth so that pilgrims could more easily reach the Shrine of St. Andrew.

Mass was changed from the many dialects of Gaelic spoken throughout Scotland to the unifying Latin. By adopting Latin to celebrate the Mass she believed that all Scots could worship together in unity, along with the other Christians of Western Europe. Many people believe that in doing this, it was not only Queen Margaret's goals to unite the Scots, but also Scotland and England in an attempt to end the bloody warfare between the two countries.

Read more at The History of Scotland.


Julie said...

Leonie, what a coincidence that we were just talking about Margaret this week! Thanks so much for sharing the's intriguing isn't it!

My.......her 'salt of wisdom conversations' and her silences filled with 'good thoughts' really make me examine myself! How awesome is that, Really!

She certainly was your Proverbs 31:10-31 woman, wasn't she!
I'm impressed!

Leonie said...

Yeah, life is full of coincidences! Funny, isn't it?

She was very inspiring and most definitely that Proverbs 31 woman. The influence of a good and strong woman. :-)