Saint John tells us that Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5), but only a few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them in the Gospels. First, the sisters are set before us: Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then we learn that their brother is ill when they send word to Jesus concerning their brother Lazarus, Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick. (John 11:3) In His own time the Lord came, and they went out to meet Him; then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed: the silent mourning of Mary; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating: Lord, by this time he is already decayed! He has been dead four days.
And then once again, on the eve of His Passion, we see Jesus at Bethany, with His resurrected disciple. Martha, true to her character, is serving; Mary, as at first, pours the precious ointment, in adoration and love, on His divine head, as a preliminary to His burial. (John 12:1-4) We do not hear of the beloved family again in the Scriptures, but tradition tells us that when the storm of persecution came, the family of Bethany, with a few companions, were put into a boat without oars or sail, and borne miraculously to the coast of France. Martha assembled a holy company of women, with whom she lived in great austerity of life and admirable sanctity at Tarascon where her tomb is venerated. Saint Mary’s tomb is at La Sainte-Baume; Saint Lazarus is venerated as the founder of the Church of Marseilles. It is this family which brought to France the relics of Saint Anne.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9