Margaret Pole

Feast Day: May 28
Beatified: December 29, 1886


Margaret Pole was born in England in 1473 and was the niece of two English kings. Another king arranged for Margaret to marry Sir Reginald Pole, a friend of the royal family. They had a happy marriage.

When Reginald died, the new king, Henry VIII, made Margaret a countess. He appointed her governess of his daughter. Henry VIII called Margaret the “holiest woman in England.”

But King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church when the pope would not permit him to marry Anne Boleyn (Henry was already married to Queen Catherine). He made himself the head of the Church in England. He forbid the teaching of the Catholic faith and made it a crime for English citizens to refuse to attend the services of the Church of England.

Margaret told Henry that he was wrong. The king expelled Margaret from the royal court. He became even angrier when one of Margaret’s sons, Reginald, a cardinal of the Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote an article denying Henry’s claim to be head of the Church in England. Henry blamed Margaret. He had her arrested.

Margaret was questioned harshly to prove that she was a traitor, but there was no evidence. She had always been faithful to Jesus and the Church. None of this mattered to Henry. Margaret was sentenced to death. She was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two years before being executed in 1541.

She was beatified in 1886 as a martyr for the faith, and the Church honors Blessed Margaret Pole on May 28 each year.

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The Story of Our Church, unit 4