We beseech Thee,
O Lord our God, grant us to revere with unceasing devotion the glorious
victories of Thy holy Martyrs Saints Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret
Ward; may we at least honor with our lowly homage those whose praises we cannot
Saint Margaret Middleton was born in York in 1556, lived there all
her life, and died there on 25 March 1586. At 15, she married a butcher, John
Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her
non-attendance at church, she taught herself to read and later ran a small
school for her own and her neighbours’ children. Her husband remained
Protestant, but allowed her to hide priests in their house. In 1586, the secret
hiding places were discovered, and Margaret was put on trial. She refused to
plead, for which the punishment was being crushed to death.
Saint Anne Heigham was
born at Dunmow (Essex) around 1565, and was hanged at Tyburn on 27 February
1601. In her teens, she became a Catholic and was disinherited, and in 1585
married Roger Line, also a disinherited convert, who was subsequently
imprisoned then exiled for his faith, leaving her destitute. She taught and
embroidered, and also kept house for priests. After a large number of people
had been seen gathering at her house for Mass, she was arrested, tried and
condemned to death.
Saintt Margaret Ward was born at Congleton (Cheshire), but
entered into the service of a family in London. She was arrested after
assisting a priest escape from prison, but refused under severe torture to
reveal his hiding place or to renounce her faith. She was tried at the Old
Bailey, and executed on this day in 1588. All three are remembered for their
resourcefulness, for their loyalty, for their outstanding courage, and for the
service they rendered the Church during dangerous times in aiding the ministry
of priests. (Liturgy Office, Bishops of England & Wales)
For more on these 3 English Martyrs see this entry.
In the Diocese of Bridgeport, those who prepare for the major seminary at Saint John Fisher Seminary, Stamford, call to mind the martyrdom of these women saints daily as their statues surround the altar. May Saints Margaret, Anne and Margaret, pray for us!!!