She is known as st. Lucia, to Italians, and called the patron saint ofthe blind by all partly because her name means “Light.”
Lucy was born in 283 AD to an Italian father and a Greek mother,Eutychian. Lucy was born into a rich and noble parentage in Syracuse,Sicily, Italy. Sadly, st. Lucy lost her father when she was 5 years old,leaving her and her sick mother Eutychian without a protective guardian.
St Lucy was privately raised a devout catholic by her mother. As herlove for God leaped, she secretly took an oath of perpetual chastity andnever to be married. It was her earnest desire to distribute her richesto the poor. Her vow to God was to become her undoing.
Young Lucy’s Life with Her Mother
Lucy’s mother’s hemorrhagic illness (bleeding disorder) became toograve, and fearing for Lucy’s future if anything were to happen to her,Eutychia arranged Lucy’s marriage to a paganistic young man from awealthy family, not knowing of Lucy’s oath to the lord. Lucy has growninto a young maiden, renowned for her beauty and sparkling eyes, andmore suitors sought her hand in marriage.
Thinking of a way to tell her mother of her vow to God, Lucy persuadedher mother to visit the shrine of st. Agatha at Catania with her in thehope of a cure. St Agatha (February 5, 251 AD) was a young virginmartyred for her faith during the Decian persecution. St Agatha’s tombhad become a pilgrimage center for many as miracles were received at theshrine.
While Lucy and her mother were at Catania, st. Agatha came to Lucy inher dream. She told her that her mother Eutychia would be cured becauseof her faith. Eutychian received her healing while still at Catania;using this opportunity, Lucy confessed to her mother about the vow sheswore to the lord and why she should allow her to distribute a moresignificant part of her riches to the poor. Though dismayed at thethought that her daughter won’t be married, Eutychian agreed to let herserve God according to her faith.
She, however, suggested that Lucy should leave her riches as a legacy.To this, Lucy responded, “Whatever you give away at death for thelord’s sake you gave because you cannot take it with you. Give now tothe true savior, while you’re healthy, whatever you intended to giveaway at your death”.
Killed for Her Faith and Belief in God (Virgin and Martyr)
Lucy was born in an era of anxiety, paganistic Rome, and greatpersecutions of Christians (Catholics) under the rule of EmperorDiocletian. He had made the restoration of Rome to its former glory hissole purpose. To achieve this, the emperor wrongly believed that thepagan traditions of Rome must be upheld and any other faith suppressedand crushed to unify Rome again into one and impenetrable empire.
Thus, in that era, being a Christian (catholic) in Rome was being indanger and st. Lucy’s groom knows this. Word got to st. Lucy’sintended groom that Lucy had given out a large part of her riches andinheritance to the poor and designed never to be married. The paganintended groom of Lucy, spurned by her rejection of him and possiblyfueled by greed for her riches, reported Lucy as a Christian to thelocal authorities.
Governor Paschasius asked Lucy to burn a sacrifice to the emperor, whichshe refused because it went against her faith. Governor Paschasius thenordered that Lucy should be moved to a brothel to become a prostitute.History explained that she couldn’t be removed when the soldiers cameto move Lucy to the brothel. The governor ordered that she be burned inanger, yet the fire built around her didn’t burn her.
Lucy suffered many persecutions while in prison, including having hereyes gouged out, but she remained steadfast to her vows and belief inGod. Her courage during her ordeal was unheard of in Sicily, and herfame spread beyond Rome.
St. Lucy paid the ultimate price for her faith in God on December 13,304, by a sword pierced through her neck in public. She died a virginand martyr.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Lucy
- I bet you didn’t know that st. Lucy is one of the eight women
mentioned by name in the Roman Catholic mass during the
eucharistic celebration. Yes, she’s one of the few.
- Did you know that St Lucy’s feast day (December 13) is known as the
festival of light? This is because her feast day once coincided
with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year before
- A great miracle was witnessed at her burial. While her body was
being prepared for burial, her eyes were discovered to be
miraculously restored. Speak of the title, Patron of the Blind
and Eye Disorders.
- Sweden has the most peculiar way of celebrating the feast day of st.
Lucy. The first daughter of any family dresses in white (purity),
red sash(martyrdom), and carries a wreath of candles on her head.
- Just so you didn’t know, st. Lucy has a country named after. St
Lucia, the island Caribbean country in the West Indies, bears the
record as the first-ever country named after a woman.
Prayer to St. Lucy
Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shinefor the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffertorture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let thelight of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us havethe courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, ourrelationships, our conversation every corner of our day. Amen.