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Saint Barbara

Updated on June 12, 2009

About Saint Barbara

Saint Barbara lived in the third century, and became a martyr in the year 306.  St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners, engineers and also people who work with explosives.  St. Barbara's name is often mentioned when there are violent storms, including lightning and thunder.  The legend of St. Barbara is truly amazing.  Barbara's story is a lesson about bringing God into your life to deal with anger, rage and impossible situations.

St. Barbara was the daughter of a very rich man named Dioscorus.  As the story goes, her father thought she was too beautiful for a common man.  But he also disliked her growing faith in God.  So her father built a tower on his property where she was instructed today, and she lived alone.

Dioscorus decided to have a bath house built for Barbara.  He brought men to his property to work on the bathhouse, as he was preparing to leave for a long trip.  While he was away on the trip, Barbara came down from the tower to see how the construction was going.  Barbara noticed there were only two windows in the bathhouse, which let in very little light.

Barbara instructed the men to build a third window, to let in more light.  The men initially resisted her instructions, but Barbara persisted and told the men she would accept all the responsibility for the change in plans.  As the work was being done, Barbara also carved a cross into the marble wall of the bathhouse.

When Dioscorus returned, he was enraged to see the bathhouse not being built as he instructed.  When confronted, the men told Dioscorus the changes were made at Barbara's request.  Barbara told her father that, unlike him, she believed in Christ and the three windows represented the Trinity and the light that guides her life.

Dioscorus' attempts to keep his daughter hidden in darkness, and all way from God, were falling apart.  She affirmed her belief in God to her father, Dioscorus.  He took his daughter to the Roman leaders in his community and instructed them to torture her because of her beliefs.  Barbara was beaten and had severe wounds.  Vinegar was then rubbed into her wounds and she was locked in a cell.  Barbara knelt down and began to pray for strength.  She believed her faith would bring her through any torture.

The next morning, all of Barbara's wounds were miraculously healed.

Not far away, in another cell, a woman named Julianna observed was happening with Barbara.  She too was imprisoned because of her belief in God.  When Julianna saw how Barbara had prayed and her wounds were healed, she also reaffirmed her faith in God. 

Both women were brought before the leaders and were commanded to deny their faith in Christ.  Both Barbara and Julianna refused to deny their belief, and both were sentenced to die.  Dioscorus was ordered to behead his own daughter, another man was chosen to do the same to Julianna.  After Dioscorus and the executioner had finished killing the women, a mighty storm unfolded.  As the legend goes, immediately after beheading his daughter, a lightning strike killed Dioscorus, Barbara's father.  Moments later, a second lightning strike killed the executioner.


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    • AngelaKaelin profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      Very interesting... very helpful. Thank you!

    • thecatholicexpert profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Kim, this is indeed a great example of the type of faith you talk about in your Hub.

    • profile image

      Kim Garcia 

      10 years ago

      OK...I need to post this story to my Hub about Faith.


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