St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr
December 4

One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers


St. Barbara was born in Nicodemia, Asia Minor to a pagan father who feared that his only child might learn to love Christianity, secluded her in a tower. Yet she did become a Christian because she spent her time in study and gazing at the heavens which spoke to her of the glory of God, which became a prayer for her, pleasing God so much that He bestowed on her the gift of holy faith. 

   "The fame of Origen, that famous Christian teacher in Alexandria, reached even the remote tower, and Barbara sent a trusty servant with the request that he would make known to her the truth. Origen sent her one of his disciples, disguised as a physician, who instructed and Baptized her. She practiced her new religion discreetly while waiting for a favorable opportunity of acquainting her father with her conversion."

     Her father was shaken to learn of his daughter's resolve, so he handed her over to the proconsul Marcian, who had her scourged and tortured, but without causing her to deny the Faith. "During her sufferings, her father stood by, exulting in the torments of his child. Next night, after she had been taken back to prison, Our Lord appeared to her and healed her wounds. When Barbara appeared again before him, Marcian was greatly astonished to find no trace of the cruelties that had been perpetrated on her body. Again she resisted his importunities to deny the Faith, and when he saw that all his efforts were in vain, he pronounced the sentence of death. Barbara was to be beheaded. Her unnatural father claimed the privilege to execute it with his own hands, and with one blow severed his daughter's head from her body, on December 4, 237."

 When the Saint died a powerful storm arose, in which her father was killed by lightning, along with the proconsul.

  Note: St. Barbara is the patroness of architects, builders, miners and artillery men, and she is invoked against lightning, fire and sudden death.


"SINCE early times St. Barbara is invoked as the patroness against lightning and explosions, and is called upon by those who desire the Sacraments of the dying in their last illness, and many are the instances of the efficacy of her intercession."

Prayer of the Church

O GOD, Who among the wonders of Thy might didst grant the victory of Martyrdom also to the weaker sex, graciously grant us that we, by recalling the memory of Thy blessed Virgin and Martyr Barbara, through her example may be led to Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Novena in Honor of St. Barbara

Preparatory Prayer
For Each  Novena to a Holy Helper

ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Prayer in Honor of St. Barbara

O GOD, Who didst adorn Thy holy Virgin and Martyr Barbara with extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her intercession perseverance in the fulfillment of Thy law and the grace of being fortified before our end with the holy Sacraments, and of a happy death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invocation of St. Barbara  

 INTREPID Virgin and Martyr, St. Barbara, through thy intercession come to my aid in all needs of my soul. Obtain for me the grace to be preserved from a sudden and unprovided death; assist me in my agony, when my senses are benumbed and I am in the throes of death. Then, O powerful patroness of the dying, come to my aid! Repel from me all the assaults and temptations of the evil one, and obtain for me the grace to receive before death the holy Sacraments, that I breathe forth my soul confirmed in faith, hope, and charity, and be worthy to enter eternal glory. Amen.

St. Barbara, at my last end
  Obtain for me the Sacrament;
Assist one in that direst need
  When I my God and Judge must meet:
That robed in sanctifying grace
  My soul may stand before His face.


My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.

THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M.
TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, 1995; with Imprimatur, Imprimi Potest and Nihil Obstat.

See also a reference to the Saint and the Blessed Sacrament HERE.



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