FEast: July 20th
Pregnant women, childbirth, nurses, reptiles
Margaret's historicity is often debated since we do not have any primary documents about her life. Tradition holds that she was born in what is now Turkey around the year 289. Her father was a pagan priest and her mother passed away while she was very young, so her nurse played a large part in raising her. Her nurse was a Christian, so when Margaret decided she wanted to be Christian as well, her father disowned her.
Margaret's nurse agreed to adopt her and she lived with her several miles outside Antioch, raising sheep.
Margaret was known to be very beautiful, and one day, a Roman governor walked by her and proposed marriage or a physical relationship of any sort. Margaret refused, and the governor was very angry, trying to bribe her and threatening her with torture.
Margaret stayed firm in her decision, and so she was brought to trial for being a Christian.
While there, she was subjected to many kinds of torture. They tried to burn her first, but the flames would not burn her. She was then bound and thrown in boiling water, but when she prayed, the ropes binding her hands and feet fell away and she was uninjured when she re-emerged. Legend then goes that Margaret was imprisoned with Satan in the form of a dragon, who swallowed her. She escaped by means of the cross she held irritating the dragon's throat so that it coughed her back up!
All witnesses to this and all her other tortures converted, and were also executed immediately. Margaret was beheaded after nothing else worked at the age of only 15. Hers was one of the voices St. Joan of Arc was said to have heard telling her of her mission.
She is patron of pregnancy due to the manner in which she was "reborn" by re-emerging from the dragon.
Pregnancy can be a cause of such joy, so let us not forget those for whom it has brought pain. Be with mothers who have suffered miscarriage, complications, depression, pain, or early loss of their child. Let us bring such suffering to the light so that these women may heal and find community.
Margaret, only a teenager, has a wary and questioning look in her eye despite her being sure of her decision. I wanted her to be as amazed of her miracles as any spectators would have been, giving her the strength to keep her faith. Her dragon tattoo symbolizes her legendary torture and escape.