The Catholic Defender: St Barbara, Patron Of Artillery
While serving in the United States Army, I was deployed to Korea attached to a field Artillery Unit (2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment). I quickly learned that St. Barbara is the patron Saint of artillerymen for both the United States Army and the Marine artillery units.
The Order of St. Barbara is recognized by formal Dining - in or military ball often awarding Soldiers for excellence with presentations of the Order of Saint Barbara.
In December 2005, I was stationed at Fort Hood Texas and while visiting a Catholic book store in Austin, I bought the movie, "Saint Barbara, Convert and Martyr of the Early Church" and I popped it out and watched it. As I watched the movie, I recalled my deployment in Korea with the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment. I quickly learned how important St. Barbara meant to the traditions of the Artillery. St. Barbara is recognized as the "Patron Saint" of artillery and so I watched the movie with great interest to see the connection.
The Movie "Saint Barbara" is presented by Ignatius Press, produced by LUX VIDE as a foreign film. I had to catch the English sub-titles to keep up with the story, but all in all, I was able to get into the movie. To give some background on St. Barbara, she was born sometime near 283 A.D. raised in Nicomedia, Asia Minor. Her Father, Dioscrus, was a strong Roman Governor who had a hatred for the Catholic Faith. He was a devout Pagan who believed in the power of Rome. He considered the Church as a threat against the "divine" Emperor. Despite all his efforts, St. Barbara would herself follow the footsteps of her Mother and become a Christian. Dioscrus built a tower intending to close St. Barbara off from the world. St. Barbara being placed in this tower, there were three windows she spiritually recognized the Holy Trinity. Notice that St. Patrick utilized the Shamrock and St. Boniface used the upside down pine tree to teach the Trinity. Now I learn that St. Barbara used the three windows to signify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I have often taught people showing that fractions, decimals, and percentages can be used in mathematics to get the same truth. Also I have compared the Trinity with H2O showing three forms, liquid, steam, and ice forming a three in one substance.
Others can use other different tools to teach the Triune God, and you can see that the Church has done this all along. St. Barbara would eventually become a Christian and placed in the Tower with the three windows.
Because of the terrible persecutions of of the Roman Emperors such as Diocletion and Decius, the Christians would suffer greatly. When St. Barbara came forward as a Christian, she refused to marry the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who brutally tortured her. There are several miracles that surround this great Saint. The story is told that her Father, Dioscrus, upon learning of her conversion to the Catholic Faith, he drew his own sword to kill her. Just as the Lord took St. Phillip (Acts 8:39) and moved him, the Lord also protected St. Barbara (through her prayers). This is much the same way God saved St. Peter (Acts 12:6-11). The Lord gave St. Barbara an opening of escape miraculously transporting her to a mountain range where she found the company of shepherds. This miracle is also seen in modern times in the saintly life of Padre Pio.
Dioscorus pursued St. Barbara and had her brought back to Nicomedia and placed before the prefect Martinianus. She was imprisoned in a dark prison cell where she was bathed in light, much in the same way that the German Guard testified about St. Maximilian Kolbe (WWII), who gave his life for others in a Nazi Concentration camp. St. Barbara was terribly tortured each day only to be healed during the night. Torches that were used to burn her had no affect, much like the miracle that took place at the martyrdom of St. Polycarp (155 A.D.), when fire had no affect on him. Ultimately, St. Barbara would be beheaded by her own Father. I can't imagine this scene, as a Father myself, this is unbelievable. St. Barbara's martyrdom was December 5, 305 A.D. under the reign of Emperor Maximainus and prefect of Marcien (286-305). At her tomb, miracles continue through the intercession of this heavenly Saint who loved God above all else.
St. Barbara is the Patron Saint of artillery probably because of her Father, who was struck by lightning after killing his Daughter. She has been honored by many nations as a Patron of their cannon, explosives, and artillery. I love how St. Barbara had experience many miracles and signs from the Lord that have been experienced by other great saints. God is real and he loves you as he does St. Barbara. I encourage you to take what is real and grow in His truths as given to us by His Holy Catholic Church. Patron Saint of Firefighters, Sailors, Artillerymen and Anyone Who is in Danger of Sudden Death.
Saint Barbara, your courage is much stronger than the forces of hurricanes and the power of lightening. Be always by our side so that we, like you, may face all storms, wars, trials and tribulations with the same fortitude with which you faced yours. O Beautiful Maiden once imprisoned in a high tower, protect us from the lightning and fire that rages in the sky and the discord of war. Keep us alert and protect us from the dangers that surround us. Holy Mary Mother of Jesus intercessor for us all; we pray to assure receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of our death. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.