A Garner of Saints – Saint Margaret

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Margaret of Antioch, date and artist unknown; church of Saint-Denis-de-la-Croix-Rousse in Lyon, France; photographed on 29 October 2015 by Xavier Caré; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Antioch, the daughter of Theodosius, a priest of the Gentiles. When she had attained to years of discretion she was baptized. At the age of fifteen, while she was keeping the sheep of her nurse, the governor Olibrius happened to be passing by. Struck by her beauty, and overcome by desire for her, he sent one of his slaves to fetch her. When she was brought to him he inquired concerning her condition, and she informed him that her name was Margaret, that she was of noble birth and a Christian. At this he questioned her more closely and at length in anger put her in prison. The following day he came to her and endeavoured to persuade her to renounce Christ and sacrifice to the gods. As she persisted in her refusal, he caused her to be hung up by her hair and beaten with rods. After this her flesh was torn to the bone with iron nails. Those present lamented her fate and exhorted her to recant, while the governor, horrified at the sight, covered his face with his mantle. Being taken back to prison, Margaret was surrounded by a celestial light. And she prayed the Lord to show her the enemy whom she had to fight, and lo a huge dragon appeared and came to swallow her. But when she made the sign of the cross, the monster burst in the midst, and she came out of him, having suffered no harm. Then the devil appeared to her in the likeness of a man, and when she saw him she knelt and prayed, but on his approach she seized him by the hair and threw him down, putting her foot on his head. At this he acknowledged himself vanquished, feeling it to be a foul disgrace to be thus conquered by a child. And she forced him to confess that he had come in order to tempt her to obey the orders of the governor. Finally she released him and he departed. The next day Margaret was brought before the governor, and when she refused to sacrifice, he caused her to be stripped and burned with torches, and the bystanders marvelled that so young a girl could bear such torments. She was next thrown into a lake full of water, but a great earthquake shook the place and she came out unharmed. This miracle brought about the conversion of five thousand men, who were immediately condemned to death. Then the governor caused Margaret to be decapitated, fearing that she would convert others. Before suffering death she asked leave to pray, and knelt and prayed for herself and her persecutors adding, that all women in travail who invoked her should be safely delivered. And there came a voice from heaven saying that her prayers were heard. 20th July.

Attributes

  • A dragon at her feet—she holds a cross and sometimes wears a crown; and also carries a sword.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Margaret”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 April 2017. Web. 25 November 2017. <>