Sunday, May 23, 2010

St. Barbara (? to Dec. 4, 306)

I grew up watching the sparkle of fireflies on warm June evenings in my yard. I'd run around in my shorts after my parents sprayed me with insect repellent and I'd get to play outside after dinner until it was time to go for ice cream.
Some nights my dad would help me catch fireflies and we'd put them in a jar. Then, I'd have to release them before going inside. One of the most exciting times was when one found its way into my bedroom. I fell asleep to its magical flicker.
Today, I read an essay by a woman who saw fireflies for the first time as an adult living in Florence, Italy. The native Californian likened them to Christmas lights and "heaven right here on Earth." She also spoke of June in Florence and celebrations with fireworks.
St. Barbara, the patron saint of fireworks. She was born in Nicomedia in the third century. Her pagan father locked her in a tower to keep her chaste. While she was in seclusion she became a Christian and refused a marriage propoal. When St. Barbara's father found out she was a Christian, he beheaded her on Dec. 4, 305.
For his wrongdoing, he was struck by lightning and died. St. Barbara is also the patron saint against lightning. Her feast day is Dec. 4.

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