Our Lady's Little Scribe seeks to use the internet for sharing the Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.

The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

St. Barbara - December 4th

Today is the feast day of St. Barbara. She was one of the early Christian martyrs. One story is that she died at Nicomedia in Asia under the persecution of Maximinus in 306. Another story is that her father, who had kept her prisoner in a tower, dragged her before the judge and accused her of being a Christian. She was given a chance to recant but refused. Beaten and tortured, she was comforted by visions of the Lord. At her execution, her father was killed with a flash of lightning.

Her veneration was brought from the Middle East by the Crusaders. She is the patron of all those who are imprisoned, of towers and fortresses, and of those whose work is connected with flashes of light, such as artillery soldiers, bellmakers, cooks, and beacon light crews. She is also the patron of architects because she was commonly pictured holding a tower building in her hand.

Her greatest and most important patronage is that against sudden death. In medieval times she was invoked with prayers and hymns to grant a peaceful and well-prepared parting from this life. The miners chose her as their special patron because their work exposes them to constant danger of sudden death. In many countries of Europe her day still is the official feast day of the miners and the military units of artillery.

Saint Barbara's Branch

This is an attractive custom, practiced in some parts of Europe today. On Saint Barbara's feast day, December 4th, small branches are broken from fruit trees, especially cherries, and put in a pitcher of water, kept in a warm room of the house. These branches then break into bloom around Christmas Day. Among the superstitions associated with the branches, it is said many blossoms indicate great good luck while no blossoms mean very bad luck. Also, the one whose twig bursts into flower just on Christmas Day is especially blessed and is sure that he will not die during the following year. Today, the Barbara Branch, in most places, is used as the Saint's tribute to the Holy Child in the crib, for the branches are brought into blossom with the purpose of using them to decorate our Lord's manger at Christmas.

For more on the life of Saint Barbara, go to: Life of Saint Barbara

1 comment:

Tausign said...

This brings to mind the proverbial question: If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?