For November, the Challenge Saint of the Month is Venerable Margaret Sinclair from Scotland. Her life is inspiring because she lived through many of the same struggles and situations we do today. She enjoyed life and all it had to offer – fashion, dancing, friends and was even engaged to be married. But she also knew what it meant to work hard as a factory worker and to experience unemployment.
Margaret Anne Sinclair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1900 and was one of six children. She went to Catholic school and was a very popular beautiful girl. Her mother became sick when she was in school, so she stayed home to take care of her mother, and worked several jobs to help support the family. Both her father and her oldest brother, John, were called up to fight in the trenches of “The Great War”. She left school at the age of fourteen and she worked full-time in a Cabinet factory. One day she found a picture of Our Lady in the garbage so she took it out and hung it up over her workplace. Her manager was a harsh man and took it down, but each morning she restored it to its place. Margaret, and her sister Bella, struggled to support their mother, pay rent and feed themselves. After the war, the Great Depression followed and Margaret found herself unemployed and ended up working in a cookie factory. Despite the hardships of her life, she was joyful, loved making herself fashionable clothes and she enjoyed dancing. Margaret would try to go to mass and communion as often as she could. Her sister Bella wondered if they were holy enough to receive communion everyday and Margaret would respond to her,” We’re not going because we are good, but because we want to be good.“ After the war, Margaret met Patrick Lynch, a soldier who had lost his faith. Through her example, Patrick came back to the faith and they were engaged to be married. Eventually Bella decided to become a nun and entered the Little Sisters of the Poor. In 1923, Margaret realized that she could not marry Patrick because God was calling her to be a nun. She decided to become a Poor Claire nun and was accepted to a convent in Notting Hill in West London. She took the religious name Sister Mary Francis . Margaret was one of the nuns who were responsible for asking for donations and helping the poor in the city. When she was just 25 years old, she caught tuberculosis and died a few months later. She was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1978.