St. Barbara

Today we celebrate the feast day of Barbara of Nicomedia, patron saint of gunners.

If you’re worried about being hit by lightning or burning up in a fire, Barbara’s apparently also got your back. Versatile lass.

The story[1] is that Barbara was something of a beauty, but was uninterested in men, so her father did what apparently good Third Century dads did in such a situation – locked her up in a tower. (Today we try to amend the constitution, but those were simpler times.) I’ve found different versions of what eventually happened to her. Perhaps he handed her over to the Romans, who executed her. Perhaps it was her dad who lopped off her head. Whatever, apparently he got his comeuppance when he was struck dead by lightning.

In addition to being the patron saint of gunners, she appears to also offer the shelter of her piety to geologists, mathematicians and architects.

[1] Blackburn and Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Book of Days