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St Barbaras Tower

St. Barbara’s Tower – A Storytelling Craft


Storytellers! This is a fun and simple kid-friendly craft with gingerbread-type houses to tell St. Barbara’s story of faith and endurance.

Saint Barbara’s Day is not one usually celebrated in the season of Advent unless you happen to be in the military, where her feast day is celebrated wholeheartedly because of her patronage of artillerymen. However, I always thought that, in this season, it would be appropriate to celebrate this beautiful martyr on her feast day by making simple gingerbread-type houses.

St. Barbara's Tower

Why? Well, since her father, a wealthy pagan named Dioscorus, had her shut up in a tower to protect her from unsuitable young men and then later locked her up there because of her Christian faith, Barbara is the patron saint of architects.

As the story goes, Dioscorus went away on business, and Barbara took the opportunity to have workmen put in a third window at the top of the tower. Her father’s design had only two, but she changed it to three to honor the Holy Trinity. When he returned, he asked why she made the change. She confessed her new faith and was promptly imprisoned and then tortured.

The story of Barbara’s faith and endurance is an important one. Taking the opportunity to tell it (in an age-appropriate way) while enjoying a festive tradition that already accompanies the season is a great way to acknowledge her martyrdom and marry a new tradition with an older one.

Keeping it Simple

St. Barbara's Tower

Baking a traditional gingerbread house takes a lot of work, even days’ worth of work, and homeschool moms are already pressed for time, but a little “hack” can create similar results and is simple enough for toddlers to join in the fun.

Use graham crackers, canned icing (always buy the store brand for these types of crafts, there is no point in spending a lot of money), and whatever candy you like and let the children construct their little houses, or if they are ambitious, a tower. The icing eventually dries, and the houses will last a few weeks if set aside in a dry area.

St. Barbara, pray for us.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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