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Saint Martha

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St. Martha taming the Tarasque, a terrible man-eating monster.
St. Martha taming the Tarasque, a terrible man-eating monster.

St. Martha of Bethany is the sister of Lazarus; she is invoked for protection and domination of difficult or adverse situations. St. Martha is the patron saint of servants and is petitioned for domination and triumph over bosses, employers, and authority figures. She is known as Saint Martha the Dominator when she called upon by women who want help to rule and control their husbands or lovers. The Feast Day of Saint Martha is July 29.

Martha is best known as the sister to Mary and Lazarus, an immaculate hostess who was gently rebuked by Christ in the Gospels of Luke and John after she chided her sister Mary. Despite this, Martha is often depicted as one of the most devoted women followers of Christ. Orthodox tradition considers her, along with her sister Mary of Bethany, to be one of the myrrh-bearing women who stood at the foot of Golgotha while Christ was crucified.

Martha has a special role in folk-Catholicism, because some hold that after the Cruciifixion, she, along with her brother Lazarus and sister Mary, moved to Avignon and then to Tarascon in France. In Tarascon, Saint Martha was believed to have tamed a terrible reptilian monster called the Tarasque, who lived in the area and preyed on the townspeople. She is said to have died there and her crypt is there today.

The iconography of Saint Martha the Dominator typically depicts her holding a Bible and a torch, and standing over a green dragon. This is the monster of Tarascon that Martha was able to rule, control, and tame. In African Diasporic and folk-Catholic traditions such as Cuban Santeria and Haitian Voodoo, Saint Martha may be identified as Filomena Lubana, a woman with brown skin, who tames a snake rather than a dragon. This is in keeping with African iconographical images, in which dragons do not appear but snakes are prominent.

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