Margareta (missionary)

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Margareta (c. 1369 – c. 1425), was a Swedish Sami missionary. She was given permission by the Swedish crown to preach and convert her fellow samis from Paganism to Christianity. Her position was unique for her as both a Sami and a woman.

It is not known how Margareta herself became a Christian. The name Margareta is not a Sami name and was likely given to her after she became a Christian. Margareta was an enthusiastic Christian who worked for the Christianisation of the Sami. After having sought the assistance among the Swedish clergy, the Monk Philippus Petri in Stockholm gave her a letter of recommendation to the Vadstena Abbey in April 1389. Petri praised her for her missionary work, described her difficulties and called her a tool of God in the same way as Saint Bridget, and recommended that the Bishop of Uppsala should assist her. The 19 July 1389, Bishop Thord of Strängnäs instructed the monks at Vadstena Abbey to recommend Queen Margaret I of Sweden to order the Bishops of Uppsala and Åbo to send missionaries to the Sami upon her next expected visit to Vadstena. This instruction was sent upon the request of Margareta. He added his admiration for Margareta whom he described as simple, uneducated and unselfish. After having visited Vadstena and been told that the monarch was not due to visit for a long time, she continued to Denmark, that is to say Scania. On 6 August, Queen Margaret and Bishop Magnus of Lund issued an instruction to send missionaries to the Sami, and that the Bishop of Uppsala should organized the matter. Margareta thereafter continued her missionary work among the Sami. On 17 March 1414, her work as a missionary was last mentioned.

Margareta was also investigated by the church for the visions she claimed to have had. The church in Uppsala however, claimed itself unable to decide whether her visions were to be considered to be inspired by God or Satan. It is not known when the investigation of her visions took place, as the letter describing the matter was not dated: the event has been suggested to have taken place as early as 1388, or as late as 1412.

References[edit]

  • Ericsson, Ture, "Ur lappmissionens historia", ingår i Kristendomens väg till Sverige : läsebok i kyrkohistoria (Uppsala 1956)
  • Lundgren, Gustaf B, Lappkvinnan Margareta, ingår i J. Nordlander, Norrlands äldsta sägner (Uppsala 1907)
  • Månsson, Thure, artikel i Svenska Män och Kvinnor 5 (Sthlm 1949)
  • Söderholm, Wolmar, Lappquinnan Margareta (Lycksele 1982)
  • Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (art av Jan Liedgren), hämtad 2013-10-23.