On Giants' Shoulders

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Margaret Clitheroe

Standing in the courtroom,
Silent and alone,
Entreated by the jurist,
Still, plea she gave him none.

Processing towards the altar,
White robes she'd donned with care,
Surrounded by attendants,
Ribbons in her hair.

Down upon the altar,
Wooden though it be,
Stone there was beneath her,
Silent still was she.

Rocks were placed upon her.
The crowd stood silent by,
At the last her voice was heard.
"Jesu, mercy" was her cry.

This is a poem, still in essentially draft form, that I wrote this winter in honor of St. Maragaret Clitheroe of York. She died as a recusant Catholic during the reign of Elizabeth I. She was arrested for harboring priests and pressed to death for refusing to plead at her trial. She is considered by some to be the patron saint of homeschoolers since she taught her own children. She could also be considered the patron of converts, especially those who convert without their spouses. I discovered her on my way into the Church and she's been special to me ever since. She died on March 25, 1586, so today is her feast day. One of the reasons she's been special to me is that besides my identifying with her in various ways (the homeschooling, the conversion, etc) she died on my birthday or rather I was born on her feast day.

Of course today is also the feast of the Annunciation. Given that my mother named me (due to the influence of her Italian hairdressers) after St. Elizabeth and St. Ann and then managed to give birth to me on such an important feast day, my becoming Catholic seemed very much under the auspices of a number of saints. I am grateful to all of them.


At 10:02 AM, Blogger brrrtquacker said...

That is a beautiful poem! Also, happy birthday!

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Liz said...

Thanks, It looks like it has the makings of a good day.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Karen E. said...

Happy belated birthday, Liz, and what a beautiful poem to honor a saint whom I know to be so dear to you.


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