Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of Throat Diseases, Goitre, Scrofula
Saint Balbina's Legend
The story of Balbina is introduced in the legendary Acts of Sts. Alexander and Balbina, where it is said that she was the daughter of Quirinus, a Tribune in the Roman Army. Usuardus speaks of her in his martyrology; his account of Balbina rests on the record of the martyrdom of Alexander I.
Legend has it that Quirinus was ordered to hold Pope Alexander I and a man named Hermes in prison because of their Christian faith. They were held in separate prisons that were a great distance apart, and both were shackled and well guarded. Quirinus was trying to convert Hermes back to the old gods, but promised to become a Christian if Hermes could prove that there was an after life. Hermes explained that Pope Alexander could make a better argument than he, and asked several times to visit his prison. At first Quirinus agreed to this, but after a while he became angry, convinced that these visits were frivolous excursions. He tightened the guard so that the two would not be able to speak with one another. That night Hermes prayed, and an angel appeared to Pope Alexander, releasing his chains and bringing him to Hermes' prison cell.
The next morning Quirinus came to Hermes cell as usual, and he was shocked to find both men inside. His heart now open to what the two Christians had to say, he stayed and talked with the men for a while. Hermes shared his story and told of how the Pope with the help of God had raised his son from the dead. Hearing this, Quirinus said that his daughter Balbina had a large goiter, and if the Pope could heal her, he would believe and become a Christian. The Pope asked him to bring her to prison where he was held originally. "How can she find you there, when you're here with Hermes?" Quirinus asked. "He who brought me here, will also bring me back", replied the Pope. So Quirinus quickly returned home and brought his daughter to the prison where he had originally locked up Pope Alexander. There, they found Alexander patiently waiting for them, tightly shackled in the way he had been before. Seeing this, they knelt before him in reverence.
Full of devotion, Balbina started to kiss the links of the chains that the Pope was attached to. But he said to her: "You shall not kiss these chains, but go out and find St. Peter's chains. Once you've found them, kiss them with devotion and you will soon be well."
Knowing where Peter had been held before his martyrdom, Quirinus jumped up immediately and took Balbina with him, and there he found the chains. Balbina kissed them and was soon well. Quirinus immediately had Pope Alexander and Hermes pardoned and released. Along with his wife and daughter he was baptized by the Pope. Pope Alexander stipulated that the miracle of the chains should be celebrated from that day forward, and he built the church of the Apostle Peter, where the chains have been held ever since. The church he called "ad Vincula" ("in chains"), is today St. Peter in Chains.
Another account has Quirinus placed as the one ordered to execute Alexander and two others, Eventius, and Theodolus, who had been arrested by order of Trajan. Quirinus converted to Christianity, however, after witnessing miracles performed by these three saints, and he was baptized along with his wife, and daughter Balbina.
In both accounts, Quirinus was then arrested as a Christian and martyred through decapitation on March 30, 116. He was buried in the catacomb of Prætextatus on the Via Appia. His grave was later regarded with great veneration and is referred to in the old itineraries (guides for pilgrims) of the Roman catacombs.
It is not fully known what happened to Balbina after the death of her father, but some accounts list her as living as a virgin recluse nun until her death in 130 A.D.
Santa Balbina Basilica in Rome
Santa Balbina suffered from a goitre which can be caused by lack of iodized salt or consuming too much cassava root so today
we are going to celebrate with a recipe that contains foods high in iodine like seafood, dairy products, grains and eggs.
Creamy Shrimp Carbonara
1 lb. spaghetti
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1½ c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. bacon, cut into ½" slices
4 oz. heavy cream (optional)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Bring an 8-quart stock pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine eggs, yolks, cream and Parmesan; mix well with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a bowl. Do not drain the fat. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add ¼ cup pasta water. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook until pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain pasta and add to skillet with shrimp; use tongs to combine well. Stir in cheese mixture and parsley, quickly tossing together to evenly coat pasta and prevent eggs from scrambling. Add additional pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Just before serving, add bacon.
Transfer to a platter and garnish with parsley, more Parmesan and pepper.