God’s Little One: The Life of Margaret Sinclair, Poor Clare

ven margaret sinclairA Poor Clare Colettine nun whose cause is open for canonization is the subject of a new feature film in production by White Lyon Films under the direction of screenwriter Dianne Thomas. Margaret Sinclair, known in religion as Sr. Mary Francis of the Five Wounds, was a Scottish-born working girl who joined the Poor Clare Colettines of Notting Hill in London. She died at the young age of 25 and her memory and impact have grown with the passing decades. Described as “a striking contemporary example of evangelical heroism,” many miracles have been attributed to her intercession.

Margaret was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1900 to a poor, working class family. She left school in 1914 and worked in factories to support her family. After helping a young man recover his lost Faith, he proposed marriage but she said, “I have done what God inspired me to do, to help you the little I could, to regain the light. From that point God and his Blessed Mother must have showered down blessings on you, because you have remained steadfast, and I trust God that you will continue doing so, because you know He is the only real happiness.”

Her sister joined the Little Sisters of the Poor while Margaret left home and country to become a Poor Clare Colettine in Notting Hill, London, as an extern sister. She desired enclosure but the sisters thought that her lack of education would make the chanting of the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin too difficult for her. She was clothed in her habit in 1924 in the presence of her family and her sister, now a novice.

sinclair pccIn 1925, she contracted tuberculosis of the throat and was moved to a nursing facility where she was lonely for the monastery and her mother abbess. However, her bed was a magnet for visitors, for her joy was radiantly evident. In her suffering, she said, “If I can gain one soul for Jesus it will be worth it all.” She died on this day in 1925, in her habit, with a copy of her vows at her side.

 Sister Mary Francis was declared Venerable by Pope Paul IV in 1978. During Pope John Paul II’s visit to Britain in 1982, he said, “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… I fully appreciate the aspirations of the Catholics of Scotland, and elsewhere, for that singular event to be realized, and I know you are praying that it may come about.”

You can read a short biography of her life by a Poor Clare nun and watch a documentary. Travelers to Scotland can visit The National Shrine of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair in the Redemptorist church of St Patrick’s Cowgate, Edinburgh.


One thought on “God’s Little One: The Life of Margaret Sinclair, Poor Clare”

  1. Thank you so much for promoting the Cause of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair to the world. I truly pray that if it is God’s Holy Will that one day she will become a Catholic Saint. Please pray for me and my team as we sincerely hope to raise the funding to make the feature film Margaret Sinclair: An Ordinary Girl.

    December 23, 2014 at 9:50am · Edited

    A SAINT IN THE MAKING: Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh has launched a fresh bid to have the Venerable Margaret Sinclair declared a saint.

    Among a range of initiatives, Archbishop Cushley is instituting a new regular Mass at the tomb of Venerable Margaret in St Patrick’s Church, Cowgate, on the first Tuesday of each month beginning 6 January at 7pm.

    He has also appointed Father Joseph McAuley, the parish priest of St Lucy’s Church in Cumbernauld, as his delegate to spearhead the new campaign that could see Margaret declared “blessed” and then “saint”.

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

    “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, whose father was a City Corporation dustman, she was brought up in poverty in a two-room tenement basement.

    She left school at 14 and worked as French polisher during which time she became an active member of her trade union, later finding work with McVitie’s Biscuit factory.

    In 1923 Margaret entered the enclosed order of Poor Clares in Notting Hill, west London, taking the name Sister Mary Francis of the Five Wounds.

    She brought relief to the poor of that city for a short time before she died of tuberculosis in 1925.

    During a visit to Scotland in 1982, Pope John Paul II described her 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”.

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

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

    “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 10 years or so I began praying to her each day”.

    In order for Margaret Sinclair to be declared “Blessed” a miracle now needs to be attributed to her Heavenly intercession.

    Both Archbishop Cushley and Father 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,” said Archbishop Cushley.

    “This is something that Father 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”.

    To find out more information about the Venerable Margaret Sinclair please do visit the following links. https://www.facebook.com/EdinburghRCdiocese & http://www.stpatricksparish.co.uk/margaret-sinclair/ & http://whitelyonfilms.com/MargaretSinclairAnOrdinaryGirlPrayersAndNovenastoVenerableMargaretSinclair.html

    May God reward all of you for your generosity to us. Venerable Margaret Sinclair, Pray for us.

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