Margaret Clitherow was born into a Protestant family in Middleton, England, in 1555. Known for her beauty, wit, and vivacity, she captivated those around her.

In 1571, she wed John Clitherow, a prosperous grazier and butcher, and mothered two children. Later, Margaret converted to Catholicism, a decision that marked her life with profound zeal. She became a sanctuary for priests on the run, defying the authorities of the time. Despite being arrested and subjected to severe attempts to break her faith, Margaret remained unwavering.

Her steadfastness led to a brutal sentence on March 25, 1586: death by pressing. Executed by being laid on the ground with a sharp stone beneath her back, a door was placed on top of her, and crushing weights were added. She succumbed within fifteen minutes, her body shattered.

Margaret’s strength and sanctity are echoed in her words to a friend upon hearing of her fate: “The sheriffs have decided my death is imminent this Friday; my body trembles, yet my soul leaps with joy. For God’s love, keep me in your prayers, and ask others to join.” Her legacy is celebrated on March 26th, her feast day.

Photo credit: Nheyob via Wikimedia Commons

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