Saint Martha of Bethany
Written by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

St Martha of Bethany was a virgin and was born sometime in the 1st century. Her brother, Lazarus, was also a saint. With her sister Mary and brother, Lazarus, Martha often had Jesus as a guest in her home at Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem. Martha declared her faith before Jesus as Messiah and Son of God (Jo II, 1-45). When Martha complained to Jesus that Mary sat and listened to him while she was left to do all the work, Jesus said that Mary was not to be admonished for her cpntemplative behavior(Water).

Martha was the sister of Mary Magdalene in legends. Martha conquered Tarascus, the man-eating dragon (half-animal, half-fish) with horns and the tail of a serpent. This confrontation was in the Rhone valley with a cross and holy water. The story goes like this: This dragon was said to have traveled by sea from Asia. People pleaded with Martha to find someone, to rid their village of this foul creature. The dragon killed people an sank their boats. Martha sprinkled holy water and made the sign of the cross over him, then tied him up in her girdle. While he was weakened, the people slew him with spears and stones. Martha saw her sister ascend into Heaven, and died shortly afterwards. Before she died, Martha asked her bedside friends to re-read the Passion according to Saint Luke. Christ served at her funeral Mass and burial.

Martha, her brother, sister, and other Christians were set adrift, from what is now Israel, without a rudder or sail or food. The landed safely in Marseilles, France. They then traveled inland to Aix where Martha's preaching converted many to Christianity. Martha also revived a man that fell into the Rhone trying to hear her sermon. Martha exorcised demons.

Her relics are at Tarascon Provencefrom 1187. Other relics are in Wittemberg, Tuscany, and Nuremberg.

St. Martha's day is July 29th.

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This page is updated and designed by Maggie Sypniewski, BFA
Last updated on August 7, 2005