Friday, July 29, 2016

Feast of Saint Martha

Saint Martha is the sibling of Saint Mary Magdalene and Lazarus. She is the patroness of homemakers, cooks and those that work around hospitality. This makes Saint Martha pretty important to my family. Both my husband and I work within the hospitality industry over the past decade. Right now he is a restaurant manager and I will be starting a new serving job soon. The service industry is certainly difficult but Saint Martha did it and through her example we all try our best. She is also one of the greatest examples of what I want to be as a homemaker. Saint Martha is only mentioned a handful of times throughout the bible but there is a Golden Legend concerning her and a dragon. This story and more can be found at FishEaters

There was that time upon the river of Rhone, in a certain wood between Arles and Avignon, a great dragon, half beast and half fish, greater than an ox, longer than an horse, having teeth sharp as a sword, and horned on either side, head like a lion, tail like a serpent, and defended him with two wings on either side, and could not be beaten with cast of stones nor with other armour, and was as strong as twelve lions or bears; which dragon lay hiding and lurking in the river, and perished them that passed by and drowned ships. 

He came thither by sea from Galicia, and was engendered of Leviathan, which is a serpent of the water and is much wood, and of a beast called Bonacho, that is engendered in Galicia. And when he is pursued he casts out of his belly behind, his ordure, the space of an acre of land on them that follow him, and it is bright as glass, and what it toucheth it burneth as fire. To whom Martha, at the prayer of the people, came into the wood, and found him eating a man. And she cast on him holy water, and showed to him the cross, which anon was overcome, and standing still as a sheep, she bound him with her own girdle, and then was slain with spears and glaives of the people. 

The dragon was called of them that dwelled in the country Tarasconus, whereof, in remembrance of him that place is called Tarasconus, which tofore was called Nerluc, and the Black Lake, because there be woods shadowous and black. And there the blessed Martha, by licence of Maximin her master, and of her sister, dwelled and abode in the same place after, and daily occupied in prayers and in fastings, and thereafter assembled and were gathered together a great convent of sisters, and builded a fair church at the honour of the blessed Mary virgin, where she led a hard and a sharp life. She eschewed flesh and all fat meat, eggs, cheese and wine; she ate but once a day. An hundred times a day and an hundred times a night she kneeled down and bowed her knees.

An interesting aspect of this story is that Saint Martha threw holy water on the dragon to defeat it. There are several other saints that are discussed with dragons like Saint George but she does not "slay" the dragon like Saint George. Saint Martha simply uses holy water to defeat the dragon and the comparison of the homemaker Saint Martha to a dragon really illustrates the strength of her prayers.

Also thanks to this story about Saint Martha and the dragon we learn about a cool connection between her and tarragon, a fresh herb. Tarragon is also known as "little dragon" in Latin, which is an herb that grows in the same region of France that Saint Martha lived.

In her honor it is customary to enjoy a nice tarragon tea but I felt making a good hot dinner of Tarragon Chicken. If you are still interested in making a nice cup of tarragon tea check out The Herb Gardener for a simple recipe and some interesting variations. I love all natural remedies and tarragon has many different uses. Saint Martha is the patroness of homemakers after all! Below is the recipe I used to make dinner tonight in honor of Saint Martha.

Crockpot Chicken Tarragon:
2-3 Large Chicken Breasts
2 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
8 Tbsp Dijion Mustard
4 Tbsp Fresh Tarragon (chopped)
4 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Flour (or a little more depending on your preference of gravy thickness)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix the Chicken Broth, Garlic, Dijion Mustard, Tarragon and Lemon Juice Together. Place the Chicken Breasts into the Crockpot and pour the broth mixture over it. Cook Ingredients on Low for 6-8 hours. Remove the Chicken for the Crockpot and pour the broth into a large sauce pan. Place the broth on medium heat and add the heavy cream and corn starch and stir until a slightly thick gravy has formed. Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over it with fresh veggies (Asparagus and carots pair perfectly) Enjoy!

If you are a wine fan, like me I would highly suggest pairing this meal with a nice Sauvignon Blanc wine. France is known for its amazing vineyards so pour and glass and toast Saint Martha!

Prayer to Saint Martha:

O blessed St. Martha, your faith led Jesus to proclaim, "I am the resurrection and the life"; and faith let you see beyond his humanity when you cried out, "Lord I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God." With firm hope you said, I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him, and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead. With pure love for Jesus you welcomed him into your home. Friend and servant of our Savior, I too am "troubled about many things." (Pause for silent prayer.) Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love, and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.


Saint Martha, pray for us!

2 comments:

  1. What a yummy looking recipe. :) St. Martha, pray for us!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was super yummy. I wish I could have taken a picture before it didn't look pretty anymore lol

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