Tuesday, December 04, 2012
The cult of devotion to Saint Barbara was suppressed by the Church in the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, as there was insufficient evidence of her ever having existed. Be that as it may, the traditional Roman calendar remembers her on this, her feast day.
Early accounts of her existence are NON-existent, but her cult dates to the seventh century. In the Caribbean, she is a popular source of devotion among practitioners of Santería, a convergence of the African Yoruba religion and local pseudo-Christian devotionalism. In the city of Santiago de Cuba, Santa Bárbara is honored with a great procession, as her image is carried on a platform. People dress in the colors of red and white which are associated with her, as they gather along the route on their stoops and balconies, throwing perfumed water on the statue as it goes by, and drinking a toast with white wine.
Fourteen Holy Helpers, a group of early saints who were invoked against the Black Plague of the mid-14th century. (BONUS QUESTION: One of the other Helpers was said to have appeared frequently to Joan of Arc. Do you know which one it was?)
She may be off the books, but Saint Barbara still gets around.