30. St. Margaret.
by James C. Christensen
16 x 12

Margaret of Antioch (third century), the daughter of a pagan priest, is said to have been converted to Christianity by her nursemaid. When the young woman was first seen by the governor of Antioch, he was so struck by her beauty that he determined to marry her. But Margaret refused his offer, declaring that she was dedicated to Jesus Christ. She was tortured then dragged to a dungeon. While in prison she was attacked by the devil who appeared to her as a dragon. Margaret fell upon her knees in prayer and made the sign of the cross across her breast and was summarily gobbled whole by the beast. In one version of the legend a crucifix she wore irritated the throat and stomach of the dragon until it regurgitated her. Another version of the story states that the sign of the cross she made “grew larger and larger, until it split the body of the dragon in two,” permitting Margaret to escape unharmed. St. Margaret is invariably shown with the dragon, and because of her experience is the patron saint of childbirth.
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