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St. Alphonsus Liguori
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Ven Margaret Sinclair - Commitment and Confidence...

Fr Richard Reid CSsR was invited by the Poor Clare Community in Arkley, the Community of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, to mark the Anniversary of the Ven Margaret's entry into the Poor Clares. Find below his words on that day...

Image result for Ven Margaret Sinclair



Dear Brothers and Sisters! 

I have know of the Venerable Margaret all of my life - believe it or not - because my granny always had a prayer card of the Venerable Margaret somewhere obvious in her house! So you can now appreciate how strange it was for me to find myself in the church of St Patrick’s those years ago. And you may well appreciate the great pride (not sinful pride) I was able to take when the hearse left the Mount Vernon cemetery with her coffin inside and I travelled all the way back to St Pat’s, with Ven Margaret's remains by my side. 

With military precision the whole event was organised and everything went to plan perfectly. With great dignity, and with great love and respect, Margaret returned home! She was carried in to the empty church - and it had to be empty - and at the back beside the baptismal font, a red ribbon went around the coffin and this was secured by a seal of wax. She was carried into the church in complete silence and taken to the side altar where her new tomb awaited her. There were 14 of us carrying out this incredible ceremony. I should say that up in the choir loft was a small group of parishioners - Margaret's niece was also there - Norah Smith - God rest her soul - who all sat in complete silence and witnessed the whole thing. 

I don't mind telling you that it was deeply spiritual and moving experience. 16 years ago when the Apostolic Nuntio came to to bless the shrine - that was a remarkable afternoon - we prayed and we sang and then prayed some more. The reason I am reminiscing in this fashion is because I remember the great enthusiasm and passion and energy and appreciation that we all had on that day concerning our love and need of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair.

It is my hope and prayer that we still have the same enthusiasm and passion and energy and appreciation for the Venerable. Clearly by the numbers I see here today, that is till true.

I would like to highlight the commitment and confidence that Margaret most definitely had in her life. 

In her prayer life - witnessed in this church obviously - but then in her room around the corner from the church in Blackfriars street - her mother saw her praying in her room with arms outstretched - her mother walked away quietly, saying nothing.  Commitment and confidence.

When at work she made sure the Lord was with her - displaying a holy card for all to see. Every morning she went in, the card was in the bin. She rescued it and reinstated it. That went on for a long time. Commitment and confidence. 

Nearly broke her partners heart - Patrick Lynch - when she ended the relationship by returning the ring and ceasing the engagement. She knew that her heart was not for him - he certainly had a place in her heart - but her heart wanted more than he could give her - but how to break the relationship? Commitment and confidence.

Once she was asked, Why don't you just become a Little Sister of the Poor like your sister Bella. To which Margaret replied, I could never become a Little Sister Of the Poor, I will be a Poor Clare. Commitment and confidence.

When Margaret came to be dying in the Daughters of Charity sanatorium in Warley she was never one of those patients who cried and simpered to try and gain others sympathy. The files that sit in Rome, called the Positio and again I have had the privilege of studying it, show Margaret's fun-loving side, for example in her "sparring relationship" with Sister Frances Mulgrew, a nun from Glasgow who nursed Margaret and with whom Margaret developed a friendship. "They hit it off by slagging off each other's cities." Commitment and confidence.

Fr Agius her spiritual director came to appreciate the divine relationship that was going on in Margaret's life. Visiting Margaret in Warley, he began to recognise that it seemed as if Margaret was having mystical experiences with the Lord. Again, with no great show or ostentation, but she simply answered his questions. Commitment and confidence.

I could go on and on with more of these examples, however I am sure you know  well what I am saying - Margaret had a commitment and confidence. 

Before I go on to say anymore about this, let me tell you a time when maybe  Margaret lacked commitment and confidence. On her first evening in the Poor Clare monastery in London, a priest found her in the corridor crying and so he went into a parlour with her and he managed to calm her down. No wonder she was upset - the long journey from Edinburgh, her brother had travelled with her, but then she waved him off as he then emigrated on a ship going West, and then she entered her new life as a Poor Clare. However back to the priest, what was he doing in the monastery? The simple answer is that he was giving a retreat to the Poor Clare nuns and he was a Redemptorist! 

We are here today to remember our dear Margaret - Sr Mary Francis of the Five Wounds - we are here today to bring our petitions to the shrine - and we are here today to realise and celebrate the fact that we are not on our own - we are all members of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are in this devotion together. 

Let us never forget the one reason why we are all attracted to Margaret - she had Jesus her loving Lord and Saviour at the heart of her existence. 

In her family

In her work

In her personal relationships

In her Religious Life

In her sickness 

and in her dying

Jesus was there! 

May I suggest that as we celebrate the Venerable Margaret Sinclair's life and we place our petitions and our prayers for our loved ones, we take a moment to ask her to grant us, individually, the grace of 

i - giving us a deeper and truer commitment to Jesus Christ - saying, Lord I want you to be at the very centre of my life. 

ii - giving us a deeper and truer confidence in Jesus Christ - saying, Lord I trust that you know what you are doing with my life - even in those moments when I cannot see the way forward. 

Today - let us ask for these two graces. 

Commitment and Confidence in Jesus Christ. 

Venerable Margaret Sinclair - pray for us.

Fr Richard Reid CSsR

28th July 2019