Monday, June 14, 2010

Saint Barbara

Feast Day: December 4

Barbara lived in the 4th century in the city of Heliopolis.  She was the daughter of
Dioscorus, a wealthy nobleman and a pagan.  In his zeal to protect his young daughter,
Barbara was kept shut up in a tower and forbade her to have friends or speak to anyone
without his permission.

By way of a basket on a rope, she got her food and other things she needed.  It was in this
way too that she got the bible from a stranger.  One day, Barbara got ill and her father
sent for a doctor. Unknown to Dioscorus, a priest name Origen was sent instead and it was
through this that Barbara received baptism. In her solitude, she gave herself to prayer and
studied the Christian faith. 

Dioscorus, before going on a journey, instructed that a bath-house with 2 windows be built
for her daughter.  During his absence, Barbara had three windows put in instead of two, as a
symbol of the Holy Trinity and on the marble wall placed a large cross.  She, then
acknowledged herself to be a Christian.

His father was enraged by her conversion and dragged her before the civil tribunal.  She was
cruelly tortured but Barbara stood firm in her faith and would not deny Christ. Finally, she
was condemned to death by beheading and her father himself carried out the death sentence. 
On his way home, Dioscorus was struck by lightning that consumed his body.

St. Barbara is often depicted in art as standing in a tower with three windows and carrying
the palm of a martyr in her hand or she is seen holding a chalice and sacramental wafer.

Many pilgrims who came to her grave were healed or received aid and consolation. Before the
ninth century, Saint Barbara was publicly venerated  and became the patron saint in time of
danger from thunder-storms and fire as well as protector of artillerymen and miners.
Saint Barbara was proclaimed martyr on December 4, 306.


In her solitude, Barbara encountered God.  Her mind, heart and soul were opened by the grace of God to feel His presence and because of this she was convinced of the existence of God and was able to endure the terrible torture.

Her love for God made Barbara stood firm as she held to her faith in Jesus in the face of death.  She fearlessly bore witness to Jesus by suffering death rather than recanting her faith.

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