This picturesque city was named after the beautiful Saint Barbara, a virgin martyr. This saint became a Christian and refused to marry, so her father, Dioscorus, had her beheaded. The wrath of God did not take long; her father was struck dead by lightning. St. Barbara is venerated as one of the 14 Auxiliary Saints (Holy Helpers). She can be invoked against lightning and fires, and she is the patron saint of artillerymen and miners.
For the first time since the lockdown, Mike and I took a short trip to Santa Barbara. We stayed at our usual hotel across the street from East Beach. According to my fitbit, I walked over 20 miles in the short stay of two-and-a-half days. This was a working trip for Mike, so he was preoccupied with zoom calls and tending to the grand opening of Bristol Farms. I love almost every thing about the ocean: the way it calms you by speaking through the crashing of the waves, how it causes the squawking seagulls to encircle along the shore, and it smells of fresh-laundered air. Nothing is more glorious than the work of God’s hand and the sea. I love the voices of all creation, but they are amplified by the sea. The birds of prey all joyfully singing, catching a phrase or two from passing joggers, and the dogs with their masters out for a walk. The Pacific Ocean does pacify the soul.
When we lived in Santa Barbara, we always had guests from out of town; my sister Norma and her family were regular visitors. We had recently seen the movie Jaws, so we decided to take our toddler sons to the beach. We spread our blankets not far from Stearns Wharf and settled in for a pleasant day at the beach. Remember the theme song from the movie Jaws? As the killer shark got closer and closer, the music became louder and more intense. When a vehicle drove over the thick, wooden planks on the pier, it sounded exactly like the killer shark music; the only thing missing was the sound of the loud trumpets. My sister and I looked at each other and packed up our kids and left. I still do not like the sand in my feet, nor do I like being at the beach. The last time I went to the beach was two years ago when my daughter-in-law Jenny invited me. I thought for sure it would be relaxing, but two of my grandsons, Will and Lucas, turned it into a living nightmare. This was the summer of shark sightings, they were both boogie boarding, and I was a nervous wreck. The more I yelled for them to come in from the water, the farther they went out. Maddie and Jacob stayed safely near the shore. During COVID-19, Jenny has taken the kids to the beach at least three times a week; our daughter Sonja does the same. They have invited me, but just like when invited to Disneyland my answer is always an emphatic NO! If I want sand in my food, I’ll get it from Ezekiel Bread.
Santa Barbara Roots
The first home we purchased was in Santa Barbara. We are so uncouth when we visit our former homes, I always ask Mike to drive slowly so that I can get a good shot. It makes my heart glad to see that the houses are so well maintained. We still own a home on La Marina Drive, that has served as a great investment for us. Once in a while we’ll make an appointment to visit our tenants, to make sure all is well. We have been blessed to have the most responsible family taking great care of our property. One problem for me, is the smiling Buddha sitting on the front lawn. Buddhas are nesting, in the bathroom, and the back yard; there are so many that I’ve lost count. But I guess if they came to our home, they would be uncomfortable with all my Jesus and Mary decor. Oh well, to each his own!
The 14 Holy Helpers
During the Black Death that ravaged Europe (1346-1349) the faithful followers of Christ invoked special saints against the plague and sudden death. Later these saints would be known as Holy Helpers. All but two of these saints were martyred. They suffered greatly for their beliefs and never gave in to the torture they endured.
St. George – Can be invoked against diseases of the skin and palsy.
St. Blaise – Once a year on the feast day of St. Blaise, all Catholics can have their throats blessed. He can be invoked against any diseases of the throat.
St. Aegidius – Also know as St. Giles the Hermit, can be invoked against crippling diseases.
St. Denis – The most famous of the Holy Helpers, he was converted by St. Paul. St. Denis traveled from Athens to Jerusalem, where he met St. Luke and Our Lady herself. He was beheaded in Paris, France. A church was built on the exact spot where his head landed. He can be invoked against demonic assaults.
St. Eustace – Can be invoked against fires because he and his wife were thrown into a furnace but their bodies remained intact.
St. Erasmus – Also referred to as St. Elmo, he was fed by angels while still in prison. He was tortured by having his intestines partially cut out, but healed by an angel. You can invoke him against stomach disorders and fires. He is the patron saint of sailors and fishermen.
St. Vitus – Can be invoked against paralysis, nervous diseases and epilepsy.
St. Pantaleon – Can be invoked against lung diseases.
St. Achatius – Can be invoked against headaches.
St. Catherine of Alexandria – The patron saint of philosophers, she is invoked in lawsuits.
St. Margret – Can be invoked for kidney diseases.
Lastly, St. Barbara. Her cruel father watched as she was being tortured. When he saw that none of the tortures harmed her, he took a sword and cut off her head. St. Barbara can be invoked against lightning and fires.
I am a prayer warrior. Whenever I am asked to pray for someone, many times I ask certain saints to come alongside me to petition for help. Catholics do not pray to saints, but they implore their help.
Revelation 5:8 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition
8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
My prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we invoke St. Barbara, St. Eustace, and St. Elmo against all the wildfires in California. Lord, send rain to quench the burning flames that threaten lives and property. Protect all firefighters and equip them to swiftly put out all fires. We invoke St. Denis against all the demonic activity that has taken over our country. Lord, hear our cry and receive our prayers as a sweet smelling incense unto you, answer our petitions. Amen.