Saint Lucy: Feast Day, December 13
The story of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr.
Symbols: cord; eyes on a dish; hitched to a yoke of oxen; in the company of Saints Agatha, Agnes of Rome, Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria, and Thecla; kneeling before the tomb of Saint Agatha; lamp; swords
Saint Lucy lived in Sicily about 300 years after Jesus was born. Her parents were Christians, even though many people in the world at that time were still pagans, who worshipped other gods. The ruler of the country was a pagan and he made it against the law to be Christian. But Lucy's parents loved Jesus very much, so they were Christians and they taught Lucy about Christ too. She grew up loving Jesus and wanting to give her whole life to Him.
When she was grown up, something wonderful happened. Her mother wanted Lucy to marry a rich young man, even though he wasn't a Christian. Lucy didn't want to marry at all, and prayed to God for some way to persuade her mother that she didn't have to marry the rich young man.
Lucy's mother became ill, and they both went on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha to pray for healing. When Lucy's mother was miraculously healed, Lucy told her mother about how she had asked God for help so that she wouldn't have to marry. Lucy's mother changed her mind, and told Lucy that she didn't have to marry the rich young man. Lucy was very happy.
But the rich young man was not happy. He still wanted to marry Lucy, and he was very angry when she wouldn't marry him. He wanted to punish Lucy, so he told the ruler of the country that Lucy was a Christian. This was true, but it was also against the law.
Soldiers came to take Lucy away and sell her into slavery for being a Christian, but God protected her. No matter how many men tried to lift her, she could not be moved. They were so angry and so afraid of her because they couldn't lift her, that they tried to set her on fire! But God protected her from the flames. She told the soldiers that she was protected by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that she wanted to serve God.
Finally they took her to prison, where it was very cold, damp and uncomfortable. She died in prison, and went to Heaven. Jesus welcomed her and she is very happy there. Saint Lucy can pray for us, and often people who have sore eyes ask her for help.
Saint Lucy was the child of wealthy parents. They lived in the town of Syracuse in Sicily, in the early fourth century, at the time of the persecutions of Diocletian. Her father died when she was still a baby, and she was raised by her mother Eutychia, a pious and devoted Christian.
When Lucy was still a young girl, she made a vow that she would remain unmarried, and would serve God all her life. She kept this vow a secret, so as not to draw any attention to herself.
When she was older, her mother, who did not know of her vow, promised a rich young man of Syracuse that Lucy would marry him. It was a common thing for parents to arrange their children's marriages, so the young man and Lucy's mother were quite sure that this would be acceptable to Lucy.
Lucy tried several times to persuade her mother that she did not want to marry anyone, and avoided meeting the young man as often as she could. Both her mother and the young man were angry with her, but she kept her secret and didn't tell them of her vow. She prayed, asking God for help.
Eutychia became ill with a constant hemorrhage, which made her very weak. Lucy reminded her mother of the story in the Gospels of the woman who was cured of a hemorrhage by touching Christ's cloak. She suggested that they make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha to pray for healing.
While at the tomb, Eutychia was miraculously healed. Saint Agatha appeared to Lucy in a dream and told her that she would be martyred for Christ's sake. Lucy told her mother of her vow and how she had prayed for some way to change her mother's mind. Grateful for healing, Eutychia allowed Lucy to follow her vow.
Angered by this change in plans, the rich young suitor denounced Lucy to the governor of the region as a Christian. When she was found guilty, a judge ordered that Lucy be sold into slavery. That, he thought, would change her mind about being a Christian.
Soldiers came to take her away, but no matter how hard they tried, Lucy stood as if rooted to the ground. The soldiers were frightened by this, a small young woman as un-moveable as a mountain. They poured oil on her head and set her on fire to try to make her move, but her body was not burned. They demanded why she was not harmed, and she replied that the power of the Lord Jesus Christ protected her. Finally, they stabbed her in the throat with a sword and she died.
Saint Lucy was welcomed into Heaven by Jesus, whom she had loved so much that she had died for Him. Since that time, many legends have grown up around her story. Some say that she was tortured and her eyes were put out before her death. For this reason, Saint Lucy is invoked as the patron of eye ailments. She is also the patron saint of Sweden, because her intercession saved the country from a famine.
In Sweden, on her feast day, the youngest girl of the household makes a procession around the house, with a head-dress of candles. She serves her family sweet buns and coffee.
Saint Lucy is invoked as the patron of eye ailments and of light, possibly because her name suggests 'light.' Sometimes, she is portrayed holding two eyes in a dish. Because her intercession saved Sweden from a famine, she is also the patron saint of Sweden and her feast day is celebrated with many beautiful customs in that country.
Born in Syracuse, a city in Sicily, early in the fourth century, Lucy was the child of wealthy Christian parents. Her father died while she was an infant, and Lucy was raised by her widowed mother, Eutychia, who was noted for her piety. She brought her daughter up to have the same devotion to God and his Son.
While still in her youth, Lucy, out of love for Christ, offered her virginity to God and made a vow that she would remain unmarried. She kept this vow a secret, even from her mother. She continued to grow in piety and devotion.
Her mother, unaware of Lucy's desire, promised her in marriage to a young pagan gentleman. Lucy used various designs to avoid complying with this planned marriage, and to persuade her mother to break the engagement. Finally, Lucy asked God for help.
At this time, Lucy's mother Eutychia, had suffered from a continuous hemorrhage for four years. Finally, she was persuaded by her daughter to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha to offer up prayers to God for relief. Lucy accompanied her, and Eutychia was miraculously healed. Then Lucy revealed her vow of virginity to her mother, and grateful for healing, Eutychia gave her permission for Lucy to pursue her desires.
When they returned home, Lucy sold all her belongings and gave the money to the poor. When he saw this happening, the rich young suitor understood that Lucy was rejecting his offer of marriage. In a rage, he denounced her to the governor of the district as a Christian. At this time, the persecution of Diocletian was making holy martyrs of many Christians.
When she was found guilty, the judge condemned her be sold into slavery to a brothel, thinking that the worse punishment for her would be one that forced her to break her vow to her God. When the soldiers came to take her away, however, God protected Lucy and her vow. They could not move her from where she stood.
Frightened and angered by her immovability, the soldiers poured oil over her head, and set it alight. Still, the power of her Lord Jesus Christ protected her and Lucy was not burned by the flames. Finally, they dragged her away to prison, where she was beaten and tortured.
When she would not recant her beliefs, she was killed with a sword thrust to the throat, as many Christians were, and was received into Heaven.