Saint Margaret Clitherow
Margaret Middleton was born in York in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
When Margaret was about 16, she married John Clitherow, a retail and wholesale butcher.They lived in a house in the Shambles and had three children, William, Henry and Anne. Margaret converted to the Catholic faith during her twenties. She was well-known and respected in York.
Margaret became a very enthusiastic Catholic and refused to attend Church of England services. Because of this, she was fined on a number of occasions and imprisoned more than once. During her time in prison she taught herself to read and write. She spent a great deal of time studying the bible.When one of her friends was imprisoned for caring for visiting priests, Margaret took over this role. She had a secret place in her house to conceal priests and a set of vestments was hidden there. A young boy, playing in the house, discovered the vestments and soon after that the soldiers were informed, the house was searched and Margaret was taken to court. She was brought before a judge who asked her to plead. Margaret felt that she had done nothing wrong and could not in all conscience plead guilty, but if she pleaded not-guilty, her children would , no doubt be subjected to great pressure, and even torture to provide evidence against her. As she refused to plead, her punishment was to be crushed to death. The judge begged her to reconsider, but she would not.
Margaret was not allowed to send a message to her family, so she sent her stockings to her daughter, Anne, as a sign that she should walk in her footsteps and her hat to her husband to indicate that she held him as head of her family.Soon after this she was taken to the bridge and a heavy door was placed on her with stones on top. After two hours the door was removed and a sharp stone placed under her back. The door and weights were replaced.Margaret died and so became a martyr for her faith.Her feast day is March 26th.