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Saint Martha

Saint Martha
  • Century: 1st Century
  • Patronage: Butlers, Cooks, Dietitians, Domestic Servants, Homemakers, Hotel-Keepers, Housemaids
  • Feast Day: July 29th

Patronage – Butlers, Cooks, Dietitians, Domestic Servants, Homemakers, Hotel-Keepers, Housemaids, Laundry Workers, Maids, Servants, Servers, Single Laywomen, Travelers

St. Martha of Bethany is described in the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John.  She is described as living in the village of Bethany with her siblings Mary and Lazarus.  She is the middle child, with Lazarus being the eldest and Mary being the youngest. She was a witness to Jesus’ resurrection of her brother Lazarus.    

In the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus visited the home of two sisters named Mary and Martha.  The two sisters are contrasted, Martha was “busy with many things” while Jesus was their guest, and Mary had chosen “the better part”.  The better part was listening to the master’s discussions. As Jesus and his Disciples were on their way, Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  Martha’s sister Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what He had to say, but Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  Eventually, she asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself”, and the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”- Luke 10:38-42.   

In the Gospel of John, Martha and Mary appear in connection to two incidents, the raising from the dead of her brother Lazarus – John 11, and the anointing of Jesus at the home of Simon the Leper – John 12:3.  Again, Martha appears to be the more aggressive of the sisters, as she ran to meet Jesus as he was coming, hearing that Lazarus had passed. Mary on the other hand quietly waited in the distance, until Jesus called her.  Jesus had to remind Martha that if she had “faith”, she would see the Glory of God.  He then went to the tomb, and called Lazarus forth, 4 days after his passing.  

Legend has it that Martha, Mary and Lazarus left Israel after Jesus’ death, around the year 48.  They settle in France, where she passed away, and spent most of her time there teaching the faith to many.  

Practical Take Away

The life of St. Martha teaches us many things.  First, by her faith she was witness to Jesus coming to her home as a guest, not just a famous speaker of her time.  Such a great guest and friend was Jesus, that Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the dead, four days after his death.  St. Martha was there to witness that, and also got to witness Jesus teaching them, as He would come to visit.  Martha, her sister Mary, and her brother Lazarus were blessed to have such a friend.  St. Martha’s life shows us that we too, can have a personal relationship with Jesus, one that is not just Master – servant, but “Friend”.  Jesus is willing to come into our homes and visit with us, if only we ask, and St. Martha shows us that is possible, and more.