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Saint Martha of Bethany

AKA: Martha of Tarascon
Wonder Worker of Southern Gaul

Born: Palaestina (modern-day Israel)

Died: 80, Tarascon, Gaul (modern-day France) or Cyprus of Natural Causes

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Christianity
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church

Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Feast Day: July 29 (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran)
June 4 (Orthodox)

Patronages: Butlers
Congregation of Martha and Mary (founded in 1979)
Cooks
Dietitians
Domestic Servants
Homemakers
Hotel-Keepers
Housemaids
Housewives
Innkeepers
Laundry Workers
Maids
Man-servants
Servants
Servers
Single Laywomen
Travelers
Places: Villajoyosa, Spain
Pateros, Metro Manila, Philippines

Representation: Broom (referring to being a home maker)
Dragon; Keys (referring to keeping the home)
With a Holy Water Sprinkler or Holy Water Pot
Ladle (reference to her home-making, cooking, etcetera)

Saint Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus with whom she lived at Bethany, a village two miles from Jerusalem, a little beyond Mount Olivet, not bearing the name of El' Azaryth or Lazarich.  The family, it appears, was of some importance in the country and, as is known from the Gospels, intensely devoted to Our Blessed Lord, Who was frequently their guest.

Martha is the prototype of the busy housewife because of the incident narrated in the Gospel when she asked Christ to rebuke her sister who was sitting at His feet leaving all the work to her.  Instead, she heard the sublime answer that Mary had chosen the good part.  Again, it was Martha who at the death of her brother had the faith to declare that God would accomplish anything that Jesus willed, and she heard the words, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," to which she replied with a magnificent act of faith, "I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God."  Finally, Martha was serving at the table when Mary anointed Christ's feet with precious nard.

There is an untrustworthy Provencal legend that after our Lord's ascension, Saint Martha traveled to France with her brother and sister, and Lazarus became Bishop of Marseilles.  In 1187, her alleged relics were discovered at Tarascon, France, and placed in a magnificent crypt in the collegiate church there.

Prayer:  Almighty, ever-living God, Your Son was a frequent Guest in Saint Martha's home.  Through her intercession grant that we may faithfully minister to our brethren and merit to be received in Your heavenly home.  Amen.

 

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