Today is the feast day of three female lay Catholic women who were martyred for the Faith.
Most readers know about Margaret Clitherow, who has become a patron of mothers with children in the womb, as not only was she killed for hiding priests, but her unborn baby died as well under the crushing weights.
However, I want to highlight today two other women who share this day with Mrs. Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret Ward, two martyrs who had very different lives.
Anne Line converted to Catholicism, was disinherited and married Roger, who, like her, had been disinherited by his family. Imprisoned, he was so sickly that instead of hanging, he was exiled. Roger Line was sent to Flanders, where he died, leaving his wife completely without any financial support. Despite cruel poverty, Anne allowed catechesis, priests and the Mass to be clandestinely held and succored in her house. She served the Jesuits, but when a Mass which drew many people occurred at her home, she was arrested and killed the very next day without a fair trial.
What attracts me about Mrs. Line, is that she took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in order to procure more grace for her dangerous mission.
The third woman to be praised among holy women today is Margaret Ward. She was a servant who helped a priest escape from prison in London, but when the attempt was interrupted, Margaret was found aiding and abetting this criminal, as all priests were at the time, and martyred for that reason.
She is depicted in a window at Tyburn shown above.
All these ladies were lay women who believed in the one, true, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, willing to die for priests.
One reason I want my little group of lay women is to constantly pray for priest. And to pray for priests during Mass, where they can most viciously be attacked by the devil.
(St. Edmund Arrowsmith, another great martyr and Jesuit, who was imprisoned with St. John Southworth, has a feast today as well.)