Since 1991 I have been blessed with having friends in Scotland, some of whom are priests, including Fr. Andrew Kingham, who has has stayed here at Nativity while on vacation. I have always admired the faith of Scottish Catholics, who make up 17% of the population, especially because of their persistence in the face of long-standing prejudice from the Protestant majority. Thankfully, while still present, this prejudice has diminished over the years.
Scottish Catholics are proud to call St. Margaret their own, even though she was born in Hungary and raised in England. A daughter of English royalty, her family had to flee England when William the Conqueror became king of England in 1066. Their ship was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland, but were welcomed into the court of King Malcolm III of Scotland. Margaret's grace and faith charmed Malcom, and they were married in 1070, with the two of them having 8 children, one of whom also became a saint.
Malcolm, as they say, was "a bit rough around the edges" and illiterate, and he relied on Margaret to provide direction for the growth of the Church. Margaret was quite pious, and always looked for ways to grow her faith as well as the faith of the people, including an invitation for the Benedictine monks to settle in Scotland.
Margaret's story of faith is a classic example of how an outsider can bring such a positive influence on the lives and faith of others. How often have we seen how an outsider can mold and shape the life of the Church in an area far different than where they came from. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who came from Albania, is another classic example of this. Sometimes it is the perspective of someone from the outside who enables others to come to see more truly. For such people, we give thanks and praise to God.
St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us!