Today in England, Catholics are free to practice their faith. But after the Reformation, this was not the case. Saint Margaret Ward is one of the heroic women saints who helped to sustain the Catholic Faith in England. As a martyr, she is honored by all who share the Faith for which they suffered.
Saint Margaret Ward is a London martyr whose story is bound up with the River Thames and the grim Tower that stands on its banks. She lived for a while in Whitehall and, using her good political and social connections, was able to visit the Tower of London where a priest, Father William Watson, was imprisoned. She made arrangements for him to escape and provided a rope, enlisting the help of a boatman, John Roche.
Roche switched clothes with the priest as part of the escape plan, and Father Watson was able to get away — but Roche and Margaret were later arrested and imprisoned. Margaret was subjected to a hideous torture, being flogged and hung up by her wrists, her toes just occasionally able to touch the ground, so that eventually some of her limbs dislocated and she became partially paralyzed. After a brief trial, she was executed at Newgate. Her story was recorded partly due to the hero priest Father Robert Southwell, who was later himself to undergo similar cruelties before being hanged, drawn, and quartered. (wf-f.org)
O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen,graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever
Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.
In the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.
The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.
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