Lucy, the Pa­tron Saint of Saint Lucia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - NATIONAL DAY -

Lucy's his­tory has been lost and all we re­ally know for cer­tain is that this brave woman, who lived in Syra­cuse lost her life dur­ing the per­se­cu­tion of Chris­tians in the early fourth cen­tury. Her ven­er­a­tion spread to Rome so that by the sixth cen­tury the whole Church rec­og­nized her courage in de­fense of the faith.

Be­cause peo­ple wanted to shed light on Lucy's brav­ery, le­gends be­gan to crop up. The one that has passed the test of time tells the story of a young Chris­tian woman who vowed to live her life in ser­vice of Christ. Her mother tried to ar­range a mar­riage for her with a pa­gan and Lucy knew her mother could not be swayed by a young girl's vow, so she de­vised a plan to con­vince her mother that Christ was the bet­ter part­ner for life.

After sev­eral prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, Lucy saw the saint in a dream. St. Agatha told Lucy her mother's ill­ness would be cured through faith, which Lucy used to per­suade her mother to give the dowry money to the poor and al­low her to com­mit her life to God.

While Lucy and her mother were grate­ful to God, the re­jected bride­groom was deeply an­gered and be­trayed Lucy's faith to the gover­nor Pascha­sius. The gover­nor at­tempted to force her into de­file­ment at a brothel, but the guards who came to take her away were un­able to move her, even after hitch­ing her to a team of oxen.

The guards heaped bun­dles of wood around her but it wouldn't burn so they fi­nally re­sorted to their swords, and Lucy met her death.

Though de­tails of her life and death are hazy, it is widely known that dur­ing her life­time Chris­tians were per­se­cuted for their faith. They were forced to en­dure hor­rific tor­ture and of­ten met painful ends dur­ing Dio­cle­tian's reign. The legend that re­mains is all mod­ern-day Chris­tians can rely on.

Lucy's story did not end with her death. Ac­cord­ing to later ac­counts, Lucy warned Pascha­sius he would be pun­ished. When the gover­nor heard this he or­dered the guards to gouge out her eyes; how­ever, in another telling, it was Lucy who re­moved her eyes in an at­tempt to dis­cour­age a per­sis­tent suitor who greatly ad­mired them. When her body was be­ing pre­pared for burial, they dis­cov­ered her eyes had been re­stored.

Sige­bert (1030-1112), a Gem­bloux monk, wrote sermo de Sancta Lucia, in which he de­scribed Lucy's body as re­main­ing undis­turbed in Si­cily for 400 years un­til Faroald II, Duke of Spo­leto, seized the is­land and trans­ferred Lucy's re­mains to Abruzzo, Italy. It was later re­moved by Em­peror Otho I in 972 to Metz and left in the church of St. Vin­cent. There is much con­fu­sion about what hap­pened to her body after its stay at St. Vin­cent's, but it is be­lieved that sev­eral pieces of her body can be found in Rome, Naples, Verona, Lis­bon, Mi­lan, Ger­many, France and Swe­den.

In 1981, thieves stole all but her head but po­lice were able to re­cover them on her feast day.

Lucy, whose name can mean "light" or "lu­cid," is the pa­tron saint of the blind. She is of­ten de­picted with the em­blem of eyes on a cup or plate or with a golden plate hold­ing her eyes and hold­ing a palm branch, which is a sym­bol of vic­tory over evil.

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