Mandeville, LA – Tradition and Holy Scripture place Saint Martha in Our Lord’s public ministry, as the sister of Mary and Lazarus and as the subject of a Gospel teaching about prayer and works.
“Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’s feet, heard his word.  But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me.  And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things:  But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
After Our Lord’s Ascension, the persecution of Christians began and Martha, Mary, Mary Salome and Lazarus were captured and put onto a small boat that was cast out into the Mediterraneum sea without oars or sails. The Jews assumed that the boat would drift into the middle of the sea and all onboard would die of exposure but miraculously the boat landed at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Saint Maries by the sea.
Lazarus becomes the first bishop of Marseilles. Martha settles in Provence and preaches the Gospels but is challenged by the locals that if her God is truly The God that she can summon him to rid the region of the terrible beast known as the Tarasco, a 6 legged dragon. Saint Martha agrees to the task, finds the dragon and douses it with Holy Water and bearing a crucifix commands it to be at peace. The legend of Saint Martha slaying the Tarasco dragon is celebrated every year in the town Tarascon on the last weekend in June. Author Margo Lestz brings the story of Saint Martha and the Tarasco to life.
“Martha came upon the dragon in the middle of his dinner. He was gobbling up a hapless fellow who had wandered too close to his lair. She plucked up her courage and threw some holy water on the Tarasque. His fiery breath was immediately extinguished. Then she held up a cross and that was all it took, the monster was instantly subdued. He meekly lumbered up to the saint like a little lamb. She slipped her belt around his neck and gently led him back to the village.
The people couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Martha leading the dragon toward them. They were filled with fear and hatred and immediately started to throw stones and spears at him. But because of his impenetrable shell, their assaults just bounced off his back and the now docile beast offered no retaliation.
The people had so much hostility toward the monster who had killed their neighbors and livestock that they just kept throwing things and shouting at him, cursing him for all the pain he had caused. The poor creature whose character had been completely changed by his conversion, fell down and died of shame for his past actions.”
Saint Martha and the Trasco dragon story serve as a wonderful reminder that Europe became Christendom as the result of men and women living and teaching the Gospels of Christ and even the folklore and legends of the territory are imbued with the miraculous powers of the One True God.
Saint Martha, oremus!