Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586) was raised as a Protestant in sixteenth century England, but converted to Catholicism at a time when many laws repressed the Catholic faith. Margaret hid priests and hosted mass in a secret room in her home. She did not try to keep her faith secret. She prayed long hours each day and routinely fasted, despite her busy life as a wife, mother of three, and businesswoman.
Margaret regularly attended Mass, went to confession, and was imprisoned several times because she didn't attend Protestant worship services. A 1585 law made it illegal for priests to live in England; harboring a priest was considered high treason. Breaking these laws was punishable by death, yet Margaret continued to provide support for priests in hiding.
In March of 1586 her home was searched, the secret room with its religious books and sacramental objects discovered. Margaret was arrested, but refused to make a plea. "Having made no offense, I need no trial," she said. She was sentenced to death by pressing. On March 25, 1586, Margaret's naked body was sandwiched between a rock and a wooden board. Heavy weights were piled on top of the board until she was crushed to death.