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[Major Gen. A. St. Clair]
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   St. Clair
   of Ulbster
   Gov. Gen.
John, 17th
   lived N.D.
   d. 1920
Harry of
[John Lang Sinclair]
Ian Patrick
   St. Clare

Are We About to have a Real "Saint" Clair?

Margaret Sinclair

From: Niven Sinclair <>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 18:02:49 +0100

Margaret Sinclair was born in Edinburgh in 1900 in a basement flat of a dilapidated tenement block, the third child of a dustman who was employed by the City Corporation.

Margaret died only 25 years later but, even in her brief life, her exceptional spiritual qualities attracted attention and, after her death, her fame spread quickly.

She was educated at St Anne's School in the Cowgate but went on to take a certificate in sewing, cooking and dress-making at the Atholl School of Domestic Economy but, at the same time, she worked as a messenger with a business firm in order to help support the two younger children in the family.

Later she worked full time as french polisher in the Waverley Cabinet Works and became an active member of her trade union. In 1918 the Cabinet Works closed down and she found work with McVitie's Biscuit factory.

The Sinclair home was a happy one. Andrew, the father, was proud of his family and spent a good deal of time with them. He had never been to school himself but was determined that his six children should receive an education. Elizabeth (Libby), the mother, brought up this good-sized brood with great devotion in circumstances which were far from ideal. Indeed, she broke down on numerous occasions only to be supported by her daughter, Margaret, who urged her to seek comfort in Confession and Communion. Margaret, herself, went to Mass daily.

Explanatory Note:

* The Order of St Clare was founded by St Clare in the 13th Century at Assisi. They are a Sister Order to the Franciscans. Their home convent is still at Assisi.
The call of God was now clear and unmistakeable and, early in 1922, Margaret confided in her priest, Father Agius, that she wished to be a nun, preferably in the Order of Poor Clares*. She had hoped to be able to join the Poor Clares at their convent at Liberton in Edinburgh as an extern sister, the humblest role in the Convent, as the extern sisters performed all the essential chores which left the choir sisters free to pursue a life of contemplative prayer. There was no vacancy at Liberton so she was directed to the Poor Clares Convent at Notting Hill in London where she was accepted as a postulant and given the name of Mary Francis of the Five Wounds.

She worked in the London area bringing comfort to the poor whilst asking the rich to give to her Order.

Over the years since her death from tuberculosis in 1925, many cures and apparent miracles have been reported as a result of prayers to Margaret. For example, the mother of Television personality, Jimmy Saville O.B.E., attributes his recovery from a fall at the age of two years, to prayers which she had said after seeing a photograph of Margaret Sinclair in Leeds Cathedral.

Explanatory Note:

^ Cardinal Gray, who died last year, said that the service, which he attended at Rosslyn Chapel with 11 other bishops of various denominations, was the best ecunemical service he had ever experienced. Although Rosslyn Chapel was built as the Catholic Collegiate Church of St Mathew, it is currently run as an Episcopalian Church. Notwithstanding this, services by other denominations (especially weddings) are frequently held — including that of my own nephew who is a Catholic.
Known as the "Edinburgh Wonder Worker" she has a special place in the life of Scotland's Capital City. His Eminence Cardinal Gordon Gray^, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, aptly summed up the significance of Margaret Sinclair's life when he said: "We can still admire the heroism of the early martyrs but the unlikelihood of any of us being thrown to the lions makes the lives of those early martyrs somewhat remote. Margaret Sinclair may be one of the first to attain the title of Saint from the factory floor. She is near to us in time and place".

Margaret Sinclair was declared 'venerable' by Pope Paul VI in 1978. The Church, through the lengthy and rigorous 'apostolic process', is now considering the possibility of pronouncing her a saint. On the 1st June, 1982 Pope John Paul II stated: "I fully appreciate the aspirations of the Catholics of Scotland for that singular event to be realised and I know that you are praying that it may come about".

Explanatory Note:

+ St Patrick's Friary is a Franciscan Community.
Margaret Sinclair was buried at Kensal Green in North West London on 24th November, 1925 but, later on 22nd December, 1927 her remains were re-interred in a marble tomb at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Liberton, Edinburgh to which pilgrimages are taking place on Sundays 12th and 19th of September this year. These will be followed by a Mass at St Patrick's+ in the Cowgate, Edinburgh.


I am indebted to Father Stephen McGrath, O.F.M., of St Patrick's Franciscan Friary for the bulk of the above information and to Mrs Judith Fisken, F.S.A. who first alerted to me to the possibility of having a true saint in the St Clair family.
[Rosslyn Chapel] On 29th June, 1965, the National Margaret Sinclair Centre was opened at Rosewell which is adjacent to Rosslyn Chapel. The significance of this is more than coincidental.

Niven Sinclair
Last changed: 99/11/21 14:40:50 [Clan Sinclair]