Saint Margaret of Antioch wood carved statue - stained 3 col. View larger

Saint Margaret of Antioch wood carved statue - stained 3 col.

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Margaret of Antioch as Saint Marina the Great Martyr of Pisidia, wood carved.

She was born in Antioch of Syria in the second half of the third century of pagan parents. She was educated in the Christian faith by her nurse, a convinced Christian. The governor Olibrio tried to turn her away from Christianity and wanted to marry her. She refused and was killed around 305. She is the patron saint of peasants, parturients, wet nurses and is invoked against infertility. To the governor who asked her in marriage, Margaret replied that she had dedicated her life to Jesus, her heavenly spouse. "Can you expect me to renounce heaven and choose instead the dust of the earth?" she tells him. Olibrio, humiliated, gives orders to burn her body with burning torches and flog her. Legend has it that a dragon appears to the prisoner to tear her to pieces, but it disappears as soon as she makes the sign of the cross. Even the serious wounds miraculously disappear. The news of this miracle spread immediately among the people, causing a stir, so much so that some were baptized. The governor's wrath then knows no bounds and orders the young woman to be beheaded in the public square. (Future)

Patronage: Pregnant women, Moribund, Licodia Eubea (CT), Montefiascone (VT)

Etymology: Marina = woman of the sea, from Latin

Emblem: Dragon, Palm

Occurrence: July 20

Roman Martyrology: In Antioch of Pisidia, in present-day Turkey, Saint Marina or Margaret, who is believed to have consecrated her body to Christ in virginity and martyrdom.

Margaret (Marina in the Greek "passio" attributed to a certain Timothy who is the main source for the biography) was born in 275 in Antioch of Pisidia, at that time one of the most flourishing cities of Asia Minor, (today near the ruins of the city is the Turkish town of Yalvac in the district of Iconium); Paul and Barnabas in one of their trips there stopped to preach Jesus the Messiah and Son of God obtaining many conversions.
Her father, Edesimo or Edesio, was a pagan priest, and because of this role, Margaret's family stood out for its wealth and social and religious life in the city. There is no news of her mother. Margaret presumably remained motherless from the earliest days of life, so that her father entrusted her to a wet nurse who lived in the nearby countryside.

The nanny secretly Christian, educates Margaret to this faith and when he thought it was mature presented her to receive baptism. All this happened, of course, without the knowledge of the father.
We are during the period of the persecutions unleashed by Maximian and Diocletian, Margaret growing up learned the story of heroism of the brothers of faith, strengthened his spirit inspired by the Gospel, she felt determined to emulate the courage shown by Christians before the cruelty of persecution and in her prayers asked to be worthy of witnessing his fidelity to Christ.
Her father, unaware of all this, decided to take his fifteen-year-old daughter back to his home in Antioch. Margaret was immediately uncomfortable both with the separation from her nurse and with the lifestyle she lived in her father's house full of comforts.

One evening she asked her father what those statuettes and lamps in the house represented. The father explained that those were the idols he worshipped and invited Margaret to burn incense for them. She listened almost indifferently to what her father told her, her father believed that Margaret lacked a religious education appropriate to her social rank, so he entrusted her to a teacher of his acquaintance who ran a school where they taught a bit of everything. Margaret did not like the pagan teachings and after a short time she revealed to her father that she was a Christian. For this reason, her father did not hesitate to send her away from home, so Margaret returned to her nurse who welcomed her as a victorious veteran of a bitter battle. In the countryside Margaret made herself useful by shepherding the flock and for other needs that arose; she devoted much time to prayer, in particular praying for her father and brothers in the faith who were increasingly persecuted.

One day, while she was leading her sheep to pasture, Margaret was noticed by Olibrio, the new governor of the province; as soon as he saw her, he was struck by her beauty and ordered her to be brought before him.
After a long conversation, the governor did not succeed in convincing Margaret to become his wife, she immediately declared herself a Christian and was adamant in professing her faith. The governor, after a long interrogation, to the answers of Margaret, countered with the flagellation and the imprisonment.

According to tradition, a pilgrim named Augustine from Pavia, in the tenth century, managed to steal, after various vicissitudes, the body of St. Margaret and transport it to Italy, in Rome to continue to Pavia. During the journey, he stopped in Montefiascone, where he was welcomed by the Benedictines of the monastery of St. Peter to whom he told the events of his journey. After a few days the pilgrim fell ill and died, recommending to the monks to preserve and venerate the precious relic.
From here began to spread the cult of St. Margaret throughout Italy and in other countries of Europe, many cities are prized to build churches in his honor.
The fame of St. Margaret is so important to be included among the "fourteen Holy Helpers", with this name are designated a group of 14 saints whose intercession the Christian people usually resort to in difficult times. They are: Acacius, Aegidius, Barbara, Blaise, Christopher, Cyriacus, Dionysius, Erasmus, Eustace, George, Catherine, Margaret, Pantaleon and Vitus.