Denver, Colo., Nov 13, 2011 / 05:53 am
On Nov. 16, Roman Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Margaret of Scotland, the queen whose devotion, charity and defense of the faith made her one of the land's patron saints.
Margaret was born around 1045, into an English royal line that had fled to Hungary after a Danish conquest caused them to lose power. Their new homeland had only recently accepted the Catholic faith, under the influence of King Stephen – later St. Stephen of Hungary – during the late 10th century.
Though the Hungarian royal saint died seven years before Margaret's birth, his legacy as a strong Catholic monarch probably shaped Margaret's vision of life as she grew up in the court over which he had recently presided. In 1057, at the request of King Edward the Confessor – another monarch later canonized by the Church as a saint – her family returned to England.
St. Edward's court was then experiencing a religious and cultural revival, which would also form Margaret's ideal of Catholic nobility as a force for the common good. But the king's death in 1066 brought a succession dispute in which Margaret's brother Eadgar lost out, causing the family to set sail for Hungary the following year.