Margaret of Scotland
from Iona took Celtic Christianity to Scotland, as well as to
England, in the sixth and seventh centuries. In England, the
Celtic Church soon merged with the Roman Church, and in the 11th century,
the Normans reformed Englandís churches once more. But the
Church in Scotland remained untouched, isolated from the rest of
Christendom until the arrival of Margaret.
Margaret was born in Hungary, in 1046, where her father, heir
to the English throne, had gone in exile when the Danes invaded
England in 1016. When the crown returned to Anglo-Saxon hands
through Edward the Confessor, the family was called back to
England to secure the line of succession. But Margaretís father
died soon after their arrival, and
his family came under the care of the Confessor. Then, after
William the Conqueror invaded England, in 1066, they fled to the
court of Malcolm III Canmore, in Scotland.
Malcolm was quickly taken with Margaret (who was 21), and they
soon married. Margaret, educated by Benedictines, had decided
to devote her life to God, and though she could no longer become
a nun, she found that her new role as queen presented many
avenues for service. She had churches built, provided
rest-houses and a ferry for pilgrims traveling to St. Andrewís,
and through a series of synods, ended the 500-year isolation of
Scotlandís Church. Her deep intellect and knowledge of
Scripture and the Church Fathers impressed all she knew. This,
coupled with her logic, diplomacy, and even-handedness, led the
Scottish clergy to willingly accept her suggestions. Malcolm
was devoted to her, and saw in her all that was pure and holy.
He supported her many works of charity, helping to feeding the
hungry and found schools, hospitals, and orphanages. They had
eight children together, who became kings, queens, and abbots
known for their goodness and sanctity. In 1093, as Margaretís
health failed, Malcolm was murdered while on a raid in England.
As she lay on her deathbed, a son brought word of his fatherís
death. But Margaret already knew. She breathed the words,
ďDeliver me,Ē and then she died. Margaret is shown with the
children whom she fed, clothed, and educated, standing before
one of the churches (St. Margaretís, Edinburgh) she had built.
Through her vocation of marriage and motherhood she reformed the
Church, served the poor, secured peace (through her
descendants), and in so doing, became Scotlandís most beloved
Like Stars Appearing: The Story of the Stained Glass
Windows of St. George's Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio
copyright 2004 by Anne E. Rowland. All rights
Stained Glass Windows copyright 2000 by St. George's Episcopal
Church, crafted by Willet Stained Glass.