I would like to introduce Saint Barbara whose Feast Day is celebrated on December 4th by the Catholic church. St. Barbara lived a secluded life in which she learned about Christianity, and found inner peace through the love of Jesus Christ.


Biography

Barbara was born amid the Third century in Heliopolis, Phoenicia (Turkey in modern day). Barbara was the princess of Nicomedia, her father was a pagan merchant called Dioscorus. Dioscorus was a rich man who was polytheistic. After Barbara's mother's death, Dioscorus dedicated his life to his daughter. Barbara grew up to be a gorgeous woman. Dioscorus frightened that his daughter would end up married to a poor man, built a tower and forced her to live in total seclusion. He only allowed his fellow pagan idolaters to visit her to teach Barbara to worship Dioscorus' gods.

Barbara spent her days admiring the beautiful mountains, flowery meadows, and water springs of the village that could be seen from her window. Barbara realized that everything in nature was created by the Great Power of God; not by handmade wooden gods worshipped by her father. Barbara secretly became a Christian preserving her virginity with hopes of becoming a nun. Many men came to Dioscorus petitioning Barbara's hand for marriage. But, Barbara totally refused and told her father not to do so as it would worsen their daughter-to-father relationship.

Dioscorus after seeing Barbara's rejections towards men let her free. Barbara started socializing with other Christian. Later, she met a priest from Alexandria who taught her the Bible, the Holy Trinity, and the Church. This priest baptized Barbara making her officially a Christian.

Dioscorus started building a bathhouse for Barbara for her comfort. The bathhouse was built with two windows in it. But, Barbara took advantage of her father's absence and ordered the builders to build another window for her. This third window was a representation of the Holy Trinity. While the third window was being built Barbara traced a cross with her finger on top of it. The cross looked as it was perfectly made using fire. She started using this window to worship God. This bathhouse served as a house of healing to many, even to St. Simeon Metaphrastes.

In his return, Dioscorus noticed the third window. Barbara told him that she would no longer worship her father's pagan idols and marry. She admitted her conversion to Christianity, and how she would marry Jesus and be his spiritual wife. Her father in discontent grabbed a sword to strike Barbara, but she ran off to the mountains. Running down the village, a hill miraculously opened and hid Barbara inside of it. Dioscorus sought her and couldn't find her. Dioscorus asked two shepherds if they have seen Barbara, the first one denied it (to help her) and the second one betrayed her. Dioscorus was found Barbara hidden inside a hill. When her father grabbed her and beat her, the betraying shepherd turn into a stone and his flock turned into locusts.

Dioscorus turned in Barbara to Martinus, the city's marshall. Martinus would beat her up, burn her with pieces of hot iron while she was naked. But, Barbara still never gave up to be a Christian. While being tortured, Jesus appeared to Barbara and healed her wounds, and cover her with His Holy mantle. An angel was sent by Jesus to protect her, and lighting would strike anyone who would come near Barbara for torturing her.

Lastly, Barbara was condemned to death. But, she was able to escape. Once again, she ran to the mountains to save herself. Dioscorus and Martinus grabbed her and tied her up to a rock. Her father decapitated Barbara with his sword. Right after, she was beheaded Dioscorus and Martinus were decapitated by a lighting struck.

Beatification

Barbara was declared a saint in 1568 by Pope Pius V and baptized as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Her remains are buried at St. Vladimir's Cathedral in Kiev. Other parts of her body are kept in various Catholic churches around the world as relics.She is the patron saint of armorers, artillerymen, architects, mathematicians, miners and the Italian Navy. St. Barbara's intercession is requested against lighting and fighting canons. The United States Army Artillery Association bear the emblem of the Order of Saint Barbara as a coat of arms. St. Barbara is venerated against diseases as well.

I hope that you enjoy reading about St. Barbara's life as much as I did.