Wednesday, March 26, 2014

St. Margaret Clitherow

Happy Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow!

Margaret Clitherow was a Protestant in Elizabethan England.  She married John Clitherow and had 3 children with him.  Three years after marriage, Margaret decided to convert to the Catholic faith.  Accounts say, she no longer found comfort, substance or truth in the "new" church.  Her husband remained Protestant, but supported her in her faith.  She was fervent in her faith: converting many, praying for 1 1/2 hours daily, and fasting 4 days of every week, regularly attending mass and confession.  When laws were passed against the Catholic faith, she was often imprisoned for not attending the Protestant service.  Then the laws came which forced priests out of England.  It was treason for a priest to remain and a felony to harbor or aid a priest, punishable by death.  Her love of her new faith led her to harbor fugitive priests.  This led to her imprisonment.  They tried, but failed, to force her by torture to deny her faith.  Eventually, she was condemned to death~by pressing.  She died at the age of 30.  More importantly, her children were so moved by her faith, all 3 chose the religious life (1 nun and 2 priests).

I don't know how Catholics in Elizabethan England were so strong and devoted.  I pray that in the same circumstances I would be as well, but the fear for the safety of your children must have been immense.  I read Autobiography
of a Hunted Priest last summer, and I must say, it was the most moving thing I have read...EVER.  To have a first hand account of life in that time was incredible.  I encourage you to read this autobiography.  It really will change your life, and make you look at your everyday decisions differently.  You will appreciate your freedom of religion and respect your ability to choose your faith.

I really don't know what else to say.  She is an example in her own rite.

I pray that my love of God and the Church can be so pure and so intense, that my children, simply by witnessing it, will feel the love of God.  

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