PHOTOS: Dozens of women named ‘Barbara’ gather at La Jolla’s Barbarella restaurant for festive fun

In recognition of the Feast of Saint Barbara (Dec. 4, 2014), a bevy of local Barbaras gathered at their namesake restaurant, Barbarella, 2171 Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla Shores, for their annual get-together. The event doubles as an assist to those living in homeless shelters as each Barbara donates a new toy or a pair of shoes, that will in turn be given to the needy.

• Click on VIEW GALLERY to see photos from the event.

The lore of Saint Barbara: Revered as the “Holy Great Martyr,” Saint Barbara lived during the reign of the Syrian emperor Maximian in the fourth century. Because she was so beautiful, Barbara’s father decided to hide her away in a tower to keep her from the eyes of strangers (Saint Barbara is often depicted in or with a tower). Word of her beauty spread through the city, and many sought her hand in marriage, but she refused them all. Her father determined her temperament had been affected by her isolation, so he allowed her to leave.

Seeing the beauty of the world, and having determined the God made it all, she devoted her life to understanding God, and journeyed out on her own to learn. During her study, she was secretly baptized. Her father, a pagan, became enraged by this discovery and sought her out, beat her and eventually sent her to torturers hoping they could change her mind. She didn’t, and was ultimately beheaded. Her killers — one of them being her own father ­— were struck by lightning and killed.

Barbara became the patron saint of artillerymen. She is also traditionally the patron of armorers, military engineers, gunsmiths, miners and anyone else who worked with cannon and explosives. She is invoked against thunder and lightning and all accidents arising from explosions of gunpowder.

Due to doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, although not from the Catholic Church’s list of saints. — Sources: catholic.org; saintbarbarafw.org; wikipedia.org

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