There is not much about St.Tabitha in the Bible. Just some basic facts, most important of which is that she is the only woman specifically named as a disciple of Christ. The word “disciple” refers to learning, to being a student of, and, having learned, to follow. This she did, following the Lord with loving charity to those less fortunate. St.Tabitha’s ministry was to the widows of Joppa, a city located in what is now the modern state of Israel. She made clothes and tunics for them, sewing them herself and distributing them to those who had nothing. Evidently she was much loved, and her ministry effective and broad enough that the Christian community was aware of her. There was much grief at her passing.
Peter himself was called to her deathbed, and he raised her from the dead in the name of Jesus. An amazing story. And the Scripture account ends there, with no information on how she might have responded to this incredible experience, or how her life progressed from there.
I have been reading reflections on this saint, imagining what sort of person she was, what her total life story might have been. They are just speculation, these reflections, but they help to gain a clearer picture of a remarkable woman of the first century A.D. In a way, this slow, hesitant depicting of this saint is like the slow emerging of a visual image of her in the icon. Bit by bit, layer by layer, an individual face begins to come clear, to guide people of this century closer to St.Tabitha’s Lord and ours, Jesus Christ.