Saint Margaret of Antioch’s life is shrouded in mystery. She is said to have been born in Antioch in Pisidia, in the region that the Romans called Asia Minor that we now know as southern Turkey. Disowned by her own family, she was brought up by a Christian nurse and dedicated her virginity to God. Margaret is said to have been denounced as a Christian by a Roman prefect because she resisted his attempts to seduce her. She was brought to trial under the Emperor Diocletian and when she refused to worship pagan gods, she was first burnt and then boiled. Protected by her prayers and piety, she came to no harm but finally, she was beheaded in what would have been around 304 AD. One of the legends around Saint Margaret is that she was confronted by the devil in the form of a dragon that swallowed her. The cross she was carrying so irritated the inside of the dragon that Margaret was able to escape.
St Margaret, also known as Marina, is celebrated on 20th July and is a patron saint of expectant mothers, women in childbirth and nurses. Although many of her legends are highly fanciful, Margaret reminds us of the many unknown martyrs that remained firm in their faith, despite persecution.