BY Daniel Harkins | December 25 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Bid for Canonisation of Margaret Sinclair steps up a gear

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh has re-launched a bid to have Margaret Sinclair declared a saint.

Declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1978—two steps away from sainthood—the cause for the canonisation of the Edinburgh-born nun has since largely stalled.

Archbishop Cushley has now appointed Fr Joseph McAuley, parish priest of St Lucy’s Church in Cumbernauld, as his delegate to spearhead a new campaign to have Margaret declared Blessed and then Saint.

“As my delegate Fr McAuley will be working closely with me to promote Margaret’s cause and to spread the message of this fascinating young woman,” Archbishop Cushley said.

“Margaret led an exemplary life as a lay person, who was very much a modern woman, a woman of her times, and who was also an exemplary religious sister albeit briefly before she died at the age of 25.”

Margaret Sinclair was born in Edinburgh’s Cowgate in 1900. One of six children, she was brought up in poverty in a two-room tenement basement. Her father was a dustman employed by the City Corporation.

She left school at 14 and worked as French polisher in the Waverley Cabinet Works where she became an active member of her trade union. In 1918 the cabinet works closed down and she found work with McVitie’s Biscuit factory.

In 1923, Margaret entered the Poor Clare Convent in Notting Hill, London, and was given the religious name Sr Mary Francis of the Five Wounds, working to bring relief to the poor of that city. Following her death of tuberculosis of the throat in 1925, a number of cures and favours where attributed to her intercession.

In 1942 the cause for her Canonisation was introduced by Pope Pius XII and in 1978 St Pope Paul VI declared her venerable. The cause for her canonisation has been led by a number of the faithful including Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld.

During a visit to Scotland in 1982, Pope John Paul II stated that ‘Margaret could well be described as one of God’s little ones, who through her very simplicity, was touched by God with the strength of real holiness of life, whether as a child, a young woman, an apprentice, a factory worker, a member of a trade union or a professed sister of religion.’

Fr McAuley said he was both delighted and surprised to be asked to take on the mission of promoting the cause of Venerable Margaret.

“Margaret was a person who prayed in an intimate personal way with Jesus,” he said. “To this very practical Christianity also has to be added her deep humility and her heroic endurance of suffering.

“Within myself I wondered how the good bishop could have known I had a devotion to Venerable Margaret. I recall very many years ago being introduced to this devotion by my mother and recall praying in the family at one point for some intention.

“Thereafter whilst I would occasionally be reminded of her cause I did not pray to her. This had changed as the result of a visit to the parish of St Benedict’s in Drumchapel, Glasgow, where the parish community prayed the novena prayers to her each day after morning Mass. As a result over the past ten years or so I began praying to her each day.”

In order for Margaret to be declared Blessed a miracle now needs to be attributed to her Heavenly intercession. Both Archbishop Cushley and Fr McAuley are keen to get people praying to Margaret for favours. This will involve a new information drive throughout schools and parishes.

“Almost immediately after her death in 1925 a devotion to Margaret spread and spread rapidly and was very strong for many decades,” Archbishop Cushley said.

“This is something that Fr McAuley and I are hoping to build upon and strengthen to spread in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, throughout Scotland and, please God, beyond.”

Archbishop Cushley is also instituting a new monthly Mass at the tomb of Venerable Margaret in St Patrick’s Church in the Cowgate, where she was baptised. This will take place on the first Tuesday of each month starting on January 6 2015 with the Archbishop celebrating Mass.






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