St. Barbara

December 4

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints

St. Barbara
St. Barbara

St. Barbara was brought up a heathen. A tyrannical father, Dioscorus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for the purpose. Here, in her forced solitude, she gave herself to prayer and study, and contrived to receive instruction and Baptism by stealth from a Christian priest. Dioscorus, on discovering his daughter’s conversion, was beside himself with rage. He himself denounced her before the civil tribunal. Barbara was horribly tortured, and at last was beheaded, her own father, merciless to the last, acting as her executioner. God, however, speedily punished her persecutors. While her soul was being borne by angels to Paradise, a flash of lightning struck Dioscorus, and he was hurried before the judgment-seat of God.


Pray often against a sudden and unprovided death; and, above all, that you may be strengthened by the Holy Viaticum against the dangers of your last hour.

Character Calendar

St. Barbara was brought up a heathen. Her father jealously kept her secluded in a lonely tower. In her enforced solitude she studied and prayed, took instruction by stealth, and was baptized. Upon learning what Barbara had done, her father ordered her tortured and finally beheaded. A flash of lightning killed the father. St. Barbara is one of the fourteen Auxiliary Saints.

Come thou spouse of Christ, receive the crown, which the Lord hath prepared for thee from eternity: for Whose love thou didst shed thy blood. — Gradual, Psalm 44

The Imitation of Christ
If Jesus be with thee, no foe can harm thee. Whoever findeth Jesus findeth a good treasure — yea, a good above every good.
Have you ever heard people bemoaning that they have no chance? Have you done it yourself perhaps? This saint had a pagan father who vowed Barbara would not learn of the foolishness of Christianity. She managed to learn all about it, to be baptized, and even to die a martyr at the hands of her own father.
And you? What of your opportunities? And what have you to show up for them? There is no reason, you know, except that God was infinitely generous, that you were not born in the wilds of unexplored Africa. Resolve this minute never to envy other people’s chances; to thank God for your special privileges instead.
He that is mighty hath done great things to me.