Thursday, 30 August 2007

Happy Feast Day

Today is the feast day of my patron saint. St. Anne Line shares her feast with two other great martyrs: St Margaret Clitherow and St. Margaret Ward. I was advised to take one of the English women martyrs as my patron when I dedicated my life to God as a single woman living and working in the world. I felt that Margaret Clitherow, as a wife and mother, wasn't quite right as a patron. I knew very little about Margaret Ward, but had the idea (perhaps wrongly) that she was very young.

Anne Line, on the other hand, was a more mature woman. She was a convert, and was disowned by her family. She married Roger Line, another convert, but he was forced to flee the country to avoid arrest, and he died very shortly afterwards, so their married life together was brief. To keep body and soul together, Anne worked as housekeeper for Fr. Gerard - keeping a safehouse for any Catholic priests who needed shelter. She adopted the pseudonym "Mrs Martha" (something I only just found out) and took private vows (in much the same way as I have.) What really drew me to her was the retort she gave on the scaffold before she was hung:

"My Lords, I am accused of harbouring a Catholic priest. So far am I from repenting that I would I could have harboured a thousand."

No chance of her being content with a Church with fewer priests and lots of lay "ministries" - for her, the issue was clear: no priests = no sacraments = no Church = no salvation. We need more women (and men) in the Church who realise that their God-given vocation involves doing things that only lay people can do, not doing the priest's job for him!

(BTW, you can read a previous post I wrote on my pilgrimage to find out more information about St. Anne Line.)


WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Ah women in the church-the real ones not the wanna-be-priestesses.

I have a love of St Margaret Clitherow and also her friend Dorothy who was the secret Catholic midwife.
I told my then protestant husband the story of St Margaret because her protestant husband (bless him) used to pay her fines for her when she was caught attending Mass.

The English side of my own family stayed Catholic through the persecutions, paying a punitive Catholic tax in the 18th century-up until Emancipation.

Phil said...

They shine as beacons in our present darkness, as much as they did in the darkness of the C16 & C17.

Paulinus said...

You'd have to try hard to beat St John Ogilivie for defiance in the face of death:Asked if he feared to die he said, "No more than you do to dine."
likewise when threatened with torture; "Your threats cheer me; I mind them no more than the cackling of geese."

A modern Glaswegian would more likely say: "Get it up ye!"

Michelle Therese said...

Oh I am so happy to see another fellow woman who is sick of all these lay "ministries." They have clogged up the Church like greasy food clogs arteries!!

Happy feast day! Your Patron Saint is totally cool!

Anonymous said...

Mac we take vows in miles Jesu..different for the married/vinculuum & domus poverty,chastity & obedience..who do you take vows with..since you mention it i thought i'd ask out of it a particular charism?

Mulier Fortis said...

Jackie, I have taken private vows. They're not "with" anyone. I have blogged about it before a few times...

Katie said...

I discovered your blog as I was searching for pictures of St. Anne Line, who is also my patron saint! I was just received into the church this spring, and have found that most people haven't heard of St. Anne Line. I was pleased to find someone else who has her as a patron. I love your blog and look forward to reading more from you, as new Catholics like myself need guidance from people like you!

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