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Saint Margaret Clitherow

Saint Margaret Clitherow:

Margaret Middleton was born in York, England in 1556. At the age of eighteen she married a butcher named John Clitherow, they had three children together. When Margaret was twenty-one, she converted to Catholicism. Her husband was not a Catholic, but he supported Margaret in her faith as he had a brother who was a clergy man for the Catholic Church. Margaret’s son Henry went to train as a Catholic priest in Reims. She regularly went to see him.

Margaret held small Masses at her house in the Shambles in York. A hole was cut in the adjoining house’s attic so the priest could escape quickly! There is a house in Shambles that is called ‘The Shrine of the Saint Margaret Clitherow’ and is open to the public. In 1586 she was arrested for helping Catholic Priests. She refused to go to trial as she didn’t want to upset her children. She was tortured and crushed to death on Good Friday 1586. After her death her hand was removed and is now a relic in the Chapel of the Bar Convent, Kent. In 2008 a plaque was installed at the Micklegate end of Ouse Bridge, York to mark the site of her martyrdom, it was unveiled by The Bishop of Middlesbrough.

Margaret was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI and canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, she is one of The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Her feast day is 30th August and she shares this with St Anne Line and St Margaret Ward.