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Sunday, June 24, 2018
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Daily Saint

May 28: Blessed Margaret Pole

Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole. He was a brave soldier and a friend of the royal family. By the time King Henry VIII came into power, Margaret was a widow with five children. The young Henry VIII was new to the throne and new to power. He called Margaret the holiest woman in England. He was so impressed with her that he returned some property her family had lost in the past. He also made her a countess.

Henry trusted her so much that Countess Margaret was appointed the governess of Princess Mary, his and Queen Catherine's daughter. But then Henry tried to marry Anne Boleyn although he already had a wife. Margaret did not approve of the king's behavior. The king made her leave the court. He let her know he was very displeased with her. The king was even more upset when one of Margaret's sons, a priest, wrote a long article against Henry's claim to be head of the Church in England. (Her son was to become the famous Cardinal Reginald Pole.) Henry was out of control. He had become cruel and hateful. He threatened to get rid of Margaret's whole family.

Henry sent people to question Countess Margaret. They were supposed to prove that she was a traitor. They questioned her from noon until evening. She never made any mistakes. She had nothing to hide. Margaret was kept under house arrest at the castle of a nobleman. Then she was moved to the huge tower of London. She never even had a trial. During the long winter months, she suffered very much from the cold and dampness. She had no fire and not enough warm clothing.

Finally, on May 28, 1541, Blessed Margaret was led out of the tower to the place of execution. She was tired and sick, but she stood tall and proud to die for her faith. "I am no traitor," she said courageously. Margaret was beheaded. She was seventy years old.

Reflection: Am I willing to take the risk of losing the admiration of people because of my faith in Christ?