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Saint Barbara

Patron Saint of Builders


Public Domain

Virgin and Martyr (d. ca. 235)

Her life

+ Barbara is one of those early martyrs whose lives are almost completely shrouded in mystery. Because we know so little about her, her name was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, but her feast may still be celebrated by local churches and she is still included in the Roman Martyrology.

+ According to pious legends, she was a beautiful maiden. After she became a Christian, her pagan father imprisoned her in a tower and, later, killed Barbara himself. As punishment, he was struck dead by lightening; for this reason, Barbara is also the patron saint of artillerymen and she is invoked for protection against fire and lightening.

Spiritual bonus

December 4 is the commemoration of Saint John Damascene. A priest and honored as a Doctor of the Church, Saint John is especially remembered for his defense of icons and sacred images. He died in 749.

For reflection

The Lamb who is at the center of the throne will lead them to the springs of the waters of life.”—Revelation 7:17


O God, who gladden us today with the annual commemoration of blessed Barbara, graciously grant that we may be helped by her merits, just as our lives are lit up by the splendor of her example of chastity and fortitude. 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 Martyrs—For a Virgin-Martyr)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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