The Feast of St. Margaret has been marked in the Scots College, not just by the launch of our new website, Facebook and Twitter, but also with the revival of the tradition of venerating the relic of the Saint Queen of Scotland.
The college has in its possession a relic of the saint that was transferred to Rome from the Scots College at Douai, France in the late 1600’s. Margaret, now known as patroness of dozens of schools and parishes in Scotland, is also the secondary patron of her adopted country and the crypt chapel here in Rome is dedicated to her memory.
She landed on the shores of Scotland and was met by the King of Scots, Malcolm. The couple married and had an extensive family which was to play a pivotal role in the future of Scotland and England.
Margaret had a great care for all the people of her husband’s kingdom and was renowned for acts of mercy and charity, especially towards the poor. She established two ferries across the Firth of Forth to aid pilgrims travelling to St. Andrews’. Her own personal book of the gospels, according to stories of the time, was lost in a flooded stream. However, it was eventually recovered and survives to this day. It can be seen in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Students, Staff and Sisters of the college have the opportunity today to spend some time in prayer before the relic, placed on the St. Margaret altar in the college crypt. Originally the high altar of the crypt, the changes of Vatican II meant that the altar, and the impressive altar piece mounted behind, now keep a constant watch over the chapel. The altar piece shows Margaret in prayer before a Celtic cross surrounded by spear heads, symbolising the hostility she faced in her acts of kindness.