The picture above of Dunnottar Castle, located on the rocky east coast of Scotland, helps us realize the long and varied history of the Scots. St. Margaret of Scotland, affectionately known as "the pearl of Scotland," is woven into this history. In fact, her life story reads like a fairy tale, with the dramatic Scottish landscape as a grand background.
St. Margaret was born in Hungary in 1045, and was accustomed to the world of royalty. She spent much of her youth in the court of her great uncle, Edward the Confessor, whom St. Edward's University (here in Austin!) is named after. When William the Conqueror invaded in 1066, the family fled via the sea, but shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. King Malcolm rescued the family and welcomed them with hospitality. He and Margaret were eventually married.
As queen, Margaret devoted her time to promoting the arts and education of the Scottish people. She was well known for her service to the poor, especially orphans. She and her husband founded 7 churches, and St. Margaret was also involved in religious reform, even being present at the discussions at the religious synods.
Margaret and Malcolm had 8 children, and besides being responsible for their faith formation and education, Margaret was also known to have a rigorous personal prayer life. As queen, her advice was often sought in matters of state, and Margaret trusted God to guide her and the country.
Although it might have been easy for Margaret to stay inside her castle and enjoy a life of luxury, she clearly chose another path. From the time of her marriage, she fully embraced all of the responsibilities of her new life and sought to bring her faith to every aspect, to fully live a life of charity in keeping with her station. She died 4 days after the death of her husband, worn out from a life of service. She is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, and is fondly referred to as "the pearl of Scotland."
Lord, thank you for the gift of St. Margaret. We pray for her continued intercession for the country of Scotland. May we, like her, seek to serve you in all aspects of our lives. Amen.
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