The Union of Catholic Mothers – Kettering

Statue of St. Margaret Clitheroe

St. Edward’s Foundation

Originally started in 1913, the Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM) strives to uphold the sanctity, responsibilities and permanence of marriage and family life; to ensure Catholic education for their children; and to extend a helping hand to those in difficulty.
National website: http://www.theucm.co.uk

Kettering UCM began in 1955, closed around 1975 but reopened 17th March 2001. The group currently (2008) has 39 members. We hold social evenings and formal talks; help with Parish and school events (tea, coffee, food etc); organise outings to places of interest and fundraise via Table Top sales, a quiz, car boot sales and coffee mornings.


Contacts: Anna Roberts (President); Eileen Lovett (Secretary) via email: parishgroups@stedwardskettering.org.uk (please state the name of the person you wish to contact at the beginning of the message); Sue McGrenaghan (Treasurer) 01536 511332.


Meetings

We meet on the 2nd Monday of each month at 8.00pm in the Lower Room of St. Edward’s Church Hall. No meeting in August. We welcome new members and visitors. Cost: Annual subscription £10, plus £2.50 each meeting, visitors £3.00.

First Tuesday of the month: 10.00am. Coffee Morning and Table Top Sale with videos, books, games, toys, bric-a-brac etc. in St. Edward’s Parish Hall. Everyone welcome.


Biography of St. Margaret Clitherow

Woodcut image of St. Margaret ClitheroeSt. Margaret Clitherow is the patron saint of the Union of Catholic Mothers.

Margaret was born a Protestant in York in 1556. In 1571, at the age of 15, she married a prosperous widower with two sons, John Clitherow. John was a butcher with a shop in the Shambles. He was also a Bridge Master (part of the committee caring for the Ouse Bridge) and a special constable, whose job included finding Catholic priests and those who hid them.

It was a happy marriage and Margaret spent her time caring for her children and helping in the shop. However in 1574 Margaret converted to Catholicism, probably under the influence of her brother-in-law, William, who was later to become a Catholic priest. Catholics were not allowed to openly hear Mass and priests travelled around the country in danger of persecution. Within a couple of years Margaret was involved in the hiding of priests around the city. By 1585 an Act of Parliament declared that any priests found in England were to be given a traitors death. The death penalty also applied to anyone found to be harbouring them. Margaret had been arrested several times on suspicion but no proof had been found.

In 1586 her home was raided. Although the priest escaped, a child who was staying with the Clitherows broke down and told everything. With the finding of priest’s vestments and Communion bread Margaret was arrested.

On March 14th Margaret was brought before the York judges. Charged with harbouring Jesuits and Seminary priests and celebrating Mass, Margaret was asked if she was guilty of the indictment or not? She replied “I know of no offence whereof I should confess myself guilty”. In refusing to plead she saved others from having to testify but was herself condemned to death.

On March 25th 1586 Margaret was put to death in the tollbooth on Ouse Bridge. A sharp stone was placed in her back, a door laid across the top of her and heavy stones placed on top of the door, slowly crushing her to death. Her last words were “Jesu, Jesu, have mercy on me”.

Margaret was canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 25th, 1970. Her feast day is August 30th.