Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

St. Margaret of Antioch

Not much is known about the this holy and noble woman of Antioch but let us examine what led this woman to become a great Saint of the Catholic Church.

Legend tells us that Margaret was born in Antioch in the early centuries. Her parents were pagans which was not unusual for those times. As was normal in that particular era many mothers preferred a wet nurse to feed their offspring as they went about their social lives and concentrated on their wifely duties to their husbands. In the case of Margaret her wet-nurse also happened to be a Christian, so one can imagine the stories that this servant would have conveyed to Margaret as she grew in age and understood the words that were spoken.

Christianity in the early centuries were regarded as suspicious by many groups who felt threatened by it's merciful message of love. In these early centuries there was not a very high moral code as people behaved just as they wished with no repercussions and worshipped whatever 'god' was popular at that time. So it is very unusual that a child of pagans parents would embrace the Christian faith.

From what we know Margaret seemed to be not so much head strong as very decisive in what she believed and from this belief in God and the Christian faith she would not be moved. The stories that her wet nurse had told her gained ground and then flourished within the soul of this most astounding young lady who then grew up a believer in the one true God and not the pagans 'gods' of her parents. This would also set Margaret on the path of martyrdom.

Considering the times she lived in where sanitary conditions would have been abysmal by today's standards, Margaret must have grown to be a beautiful woman and very pleasing to the eye. Soon offers of marriage would come for the hand of this lovely woman of Antioch. This would be the beginning of Margaret's problems.

It was here that Margaret caught the attention of Olybrius who wanted her to be either his wife or mistress, Margaret of course held strong to her faith declined his offer as graciously as she could. Unfortunately for Margaret Olybrius took her rejection personally and set out on a vindictive path to make her pay for his feelings of humiliation.

During this time Margaret was also the recipient of visions and also visits from the evil one who tried to tempt her to fall away from her faith but Margaret being the strong woman that she was fought off these attacks by the evil one. Olybrius meanwhile had not forgotten his rejection and through sheer malice he reported her to the authorities as being a Christian. Margaret was arrested.

During this time there was a despotic leader named Diocletian who ruled from about the year A.D. 303 during his reign he began a persecution of Christians like so many other evil leaders of that time. It is not known for sure, but there is speculation that it was under the rule of Diocletian that Margaret was arrested.

There were many attempts to kill Margaret by both fire and water she was able to survive which amazed all those who were able to watch this incredible woman's courage in the face of this torture. Through her bravery, many people believed the witness of Margaret and in turn they also embraced the Christian religion.

Finally the authorities had had enough of this troublesome woman and Margaret was beheaded. According to legend her body was then taken and buried by a women of noble birth.

It is also worth mentioning that it is this Margaret who was one of the 'voices' named by Joan of Arc who gave her messages which helped France regain its freedom from the English hordes.

Saint Margaret was martyred in the year c. 304.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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