Facts and Legends About St. Lucy
Very few concrete fact exist about Saint Lucy. Her popularity, however, is immense. Lucy’s name comes from the Latin root word Lux, Lucis, which means “light, lucid”
Lucy was accused of being a Christian during the reign of Diocletian.
Saint Lucy is one of seven women named in the Canon of Saint Gregory. She is also memorialized in the Roman Martyrology.
She was a martyred in Sicily around the year 304 before Christianity was legal.
Eyes: Lucy is often depicted in holy cards and statues holding a dish with a pair of eyes on it. The stories regarding Saint Lucy’s eyes include: she had them removed with a fork by Diocletian’s guards; she plucked them out herself because her suitor admired them so much; God restored her sight at the end of her life.
Mother: Lucy’s mother, Eutychia, was likely not a Christian, and she is often recounted as being the person who arranged the Lucy’s marriage to the ill-suitor. Lucy is said that to convince her mother of her desire to remain chaste, she desired to make God’s glory known through a miracle. Eutychia suffered from either dysentery or a hæmorrhage. Lucy invoked the prayers and healing of Saint Agatha, who had been martyred some 50 years earlier. Her mother was subsequently cured. Lucy then apparently implored her mother to give away her dowry as alms to the poor, likely upsetting her betrothed.
Suitor: The name of the suitor is unknown; however he was supposedly so upset about Lucy’s actions that he reported her to be a Christian to the Emperor. Diocletian is particularly famous for his torturous treatment of Christians, and he is said to have sentenced her to “the shame of prostitution” or “defilement in a brothel”.
Martyrdom: No one is quite certain how Saint Lucy actually died, but the stories of her heroic acts and special protection are many. One story describes how, when the Emperor’s guards came to retrieve Lucy for her sentence, she was “so filled with the Holy Spirit that she was as stiff and heavy as a mountain; they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen”. Another act reported that she was set on fire but God protected her. And of course, there are the stories about her eyes. Regarding her actual death, it is likely she died by the sword; some reports describe her as having a dagger plunged through her neck.
Hear us, O God, our salvation, that, as we rejoice in keeping the festival of Blessed Lucy, thy virgin and martyr, so we may profit by the tender devotion we gain through her example. Through our Lord. Amen.
Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let the light of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, our relationships, our conversation -- every corner of our day. Amen
May the glorious intercession of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy give us new heart, we pray, O Lord, so that we may celebrate her heavenly birthday in this present age and so behold things eternal. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.