Margaret Roper
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O good Father in Heaven, albeit there is nothing that we greatly fear, having the merciful unto [sic] us and while mutual love and charity each with other maketh us thy children of more strength against every evil assault; yet when we consider how weak and frail the nature of man is, and how ignorant also we be whom thy goodness will judge and think worthy the continuance in thy love to the end of this life in which as long as we are a thousand manner of ways we be steered to fall and ruin. Therefore we cannot be utterly seeker and careless: all this life is round about beset with the devil’s snares; he never ceaseth tempting us which was not afraid with crafty subtleties to set upon thy son Jesus.

Margaret Roper (1505–1544), the daughter of St. Thomas More, is almost as renowned for her learning and holiness as her father. So erudite was Roper (home-schooled by More), that upon looking one day into an edition of the letters of St. Cyprian by the scholar Erasmus, she noticed that this leading light of the Renaissance (and family friend) had erroneously misattributed a letter to Cyprian that was actually written by his arch-enemy, the heretic Novatian. Pleased to have been found in error, Erasmus praised the young girl (she was 19 at the time) with a dialogue about a wise young girl correcting the errors of a foolish old abbot. She in turn translated Erasmus’s treatise on the Lord’s Prayer — perhaps the only piece of writing by a teenager to be published in 16th-century England.

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