Saint Martha of Bethany

 Virgin (First Century)
Also known as Wonder Worker of Southern Gaul

Memorial: 29 July

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are represented by St. John as living at Bethany, but St. Luke would seem to imply that they were, at least at one time, living in Galilee; he does not mention the name of the town, but it may have been Magdala, and we should thus, supposing Mary of Bethania and Mary Magdalene to be the same person, understand the appellative "Magdalene"

Martha was the sister of Mary of Bethany. We know only what we read about her in the Gospels of Luke and John. Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus. This unique statement in John's gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother (John 11:5).

Whatever is said about her early life comes to us from apocryphal writings, which usually are no more than the work of somebody's imagination. We know that she busied herself preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples, then went to Jesus to complain that Mary did nothing while she had to do all the housework. It was at that time Jesus reminder her that Mary had chosen "the best part".

We see her again when, at the tomb of her brother Lazarus, she pronounces those profound words of faith which have come into our funeral liturgy: "I know He will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus told her: "I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, though he should die, will come to life! Do you believe this?" "Yes Lord", she replied, "I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God; he who is to come into the world."

Martha first settled in Avignon (now in France), then went to Tarascon, where a monster, the Tarasque, was a constant threat to the population. Martha managed to tame the monster. She died c. 80. Where or how she died we do not know. Whether hers was a matyr's death or a natural one we do not know. We do know that she is our patroness for whom Jesus was like family, and therefore, a powerful one in the presence of God. Her tomb is located in the crypt of the local Collegiate Church.

Butlers; cooks; dietitians; domestic servants; homemakers; hotel-keepers; housemaids; housewives; innkeepers; laundry workers; maids; manservants; servants; servers; single laywomen; travellers

Prayer to Saint Martha

Saint Martha, I resort to thy protection
and aid and as a proof of my affection
and faith I offer this light, which I shall burn every Tuesday.
Comfort me in all my difficulties and through the great favor thou didst enjoy, when the Savior was lodged in thy house.
Intercede for my family that we may always hold God in our hearts, and that we may be provided for in all our necessities, I ask, St. Martha, to overcome all difficulties as thou didst overcome the dragon at thy feet.