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Margaret Ward, Martyr of England

Today in England,  Catholics are free to practice their faith. But after the Reformation, this was not the case. Saint Margaret Ward is one of the heroic women saints who helped to sustain the Catholic Faith in England.  As a  martyr, she is honored by all who share the Faith for which they suffered.

Saint Margaret Ward is a London martyr whose story is bound up with the River Thames and the grim Tower that stands on its banks. She lived for a while in Whitehall and, using her good political and social connections, was able to visit the Tower of London where a priest, Father William Watson, was imprisoned. She made arrangements for him to escape and provided a rope, enlisting the help of a boatman, John Roche.

Roche switched clothes with the priest as part of the escape plan, and Father Watson was able to get away — but Roche and Margaret were later arrested and imprisoned. Margaret was subjected to a hideous torture, being flogged and hung up by her wrists, her toes just occasionally able to touch the ground, so that eventually some of her limbs dislocated and she became partially paralyzed. After a brief trial, she was executed at Newgate. Her story was recorded partly due to the hero priest Father Robert Southwell, who was later himself to undergo similar cruelties before being hanged, drawn, and quartered.                                                                         (wf-f.org)

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