Saint Margaret, Virgin and Martyr also known as St. Margaret of Antioch lost her mother while she was still an infant. Her father, a pagan priest, had her placed in the care of a nurse in the country. This nurse was a Christian woman and made it her duty to baptize Margaret and give her a Christian education. Her father was delighted when she returned radiating grace and goodness, but displeased that she did not worship any of the idols. She told him she was a Christian and refused to worship idols. Nothing would separate her from the love of Christ. Her father did not know the extent of her dedication so he tried everything possible to persuade her but he failed. He became angry and sent her away. Her nurse became her foster mother and Margaret grew even more in virtue. Not long after she came to live with her foster mother, Emperor Diocletian began to persecute the Christians. The prefect of the city, Olybrius, saw Margaret and fell in love. He sent a messenger to ask her to marry him, but the holy virgin replied that she cannot marry him because she is the spouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is where she belongs. The prefect was infuriated with anger at her response, and had her brought to him by force. The prefect ordered her to give up her belief of a crucified God. Margaret explained that Christians worship a God that was crucified but rose on the third day. This just angered the prefect more, and so he ordered the Virgin to be scourged, placed on the rack, and torn with iron combs. After this she was thrown into prison. After all the pain she suffered, she still thanked God for the victory she had won, and prayed he would help her fight the other battles that were sure to come.
While in prison the enemy appeared. It was the devil in the shape of a dragon. The dragon threatened to swallow her, but she stood tall in her faith and made the sign of the cross. He vanished and her cell was then full of a light as if from heaven. She looked down and her wounds were all healed.
The next day Margaret was brought before the prefect. He noticed her wounds were all healed and thought it must be the idols who had healed her. The prefect demanded Margaret to praise them but she refused, and said it was her heavenly father, Jesus Christ, who healed her. This angered the prefect even more and he ordered a harsher punishment. She was to be struck with burning torches and then thrown in ice water. However, this did not last long, for an earthquake occurred and, by prayer, her bonds were broken. She walked out of the water victorious without any burn marks from the torches. After many witnessed this miracle they converted to the Christian faith. The prefect eventually ordered Margaret to be beheaded and she was put to death about the year 275.
There are other versions to this story. Which one is true is uncertain. In one version, the dragon does swallow her when she refuses to be frightened of him, but the cross she was carrying irritated his stomach and so the dragon regurgitated her unharmed.
Can we imagine a teenage girl standing up to a dragon with nothing but a cross and her faith? Her life can inspire us when faced with trials of our own. We never know what the devil may form into when he comes face to face with us, but we can be prepared by prayer, gratitude, and trust in the Lord. If we are always armed with the sign of the cross, we can emerge triumphant in our war against satan.