Saint July 20 : St. Margaret of Antioch, whose Father was a Pagan Priest, and the Patron of Pregnant , Child Birth and Nurses
Antioch (in Pisidia)
childbirth, pregnant women, dying people, kidney disease, peasants, exiles, falsely accused people; nurses
Virgin and martyr; also called MARINA; belonged to Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, where her father was a pagan priest. Her mother dying soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman five or six leagues from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father and adopted by her nurse.
While she was one day engaged in watching the flocks of her mistress, a lustful Roman prefect named Olybrius caught sight of her, and attracted by her great beauty sought to make her his concubine or wife. When neither cajolery nor threats of punishment could succeed in moving her to yield to his desires, he had her brought before him in public trial at Antioch. Threatened with death unless she renounced the Christian faith, the holy virgin refused to adore the gods of the empire and an attempt was made to burn her, but the flames, we are told in her Acts, left her unhurt. She was then bound hand and foot and thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, but at her prayer her bonds were broken and she stood up uninjured. Finally the prefect ordered her to be beheaded. The Greek Church honors her under the name Marine on 13 July; the Latin, as Margaret on 20 July. Her Acts place her death in the persecution of Diocletian (A.D. 303-5), but in fact even the century to which she belonged is uncertain. St. Margaret is represented in art sometimes as a shepherdess, or as leading a chained dragon, again carrying a little cross or a girdle in her hand, or standing by a large vessel which recalls the cauldron into which she was plunged. Relics said to belong to the saint are venerated in very many parts of Europe; at Rome, Montefiascone, Brusels, Bruges, Paris, Froidmont, Troyes, and various other places. Curiously enough this virgin has been widely venerated for many centuries as a special patron of women who are pregnant.
Prayers in Honor of St. Margaret
O GOD, grant us through the intercession of Thy holy Virgin and Martyr Margaret, undauntedly to confess the Faith, carefully to observe the chastity of our state of life, and to overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and thereby escape the punishments of eternal damnation. Amen.
Invocation of St. Margaret
ST. MARGARET, holy Virgin and Martyr, thou didst faithfully preserve the robe of holy innocence and purity, valiantly resisting all the blandishments and allurements of the world for the love of thy Divine Spouse, Jesus Christ; help me to overcome all temptations against the choicest of all virtues, holy purity, and to remain steadfast in the love of Christ, in order to preserve this great gift of God. Implore for me the grace of perseverance in prayer, distrust of myself, and flight from the occasions of sin, and finally the grace of a good death, so that in Heaven I may "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." Amen.
My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.Prayers from:
The Fourteen Holy Helpers, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M.