Widow (First Century)
+ What we know about Saint Tabitha (who is also called Dorcas) comes to us from the Acts of the Apostles.
+ Tabitha lived in Joppa. Acts relates that when she died, “all the widows came to him weeping and showing him the tunics and cloaks that Dorcas had made while she was with them” (9:39).
+ It seems that she was a woman of standing within the community who was able to provide for the needs of widows and the poor.
+ The Christians in Joppa asked Peter to come to the town. Peter then prayed over Tabitha’s body and the woman was restored to life: “He gave her his hand and raised her up, and when he had called the holy ones and the widows, he presented her alive.
“Tabitha” is the Aramaic translation of the Greek name “Dorcas,” which means gazelle. Today, one specific species of gazelle found throughout Palestine is known as the dorcas gazelle.
“Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated means Dorcas). She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.”—Acts 9 36
O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who willed that blessed Tabitha should excel in the beauty of her charity and patience, grant, through her merits and intercession, that, carrying our cross each day, we may always persevere in love for you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Holy Woman)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.