Saint Lucy - Patroness of Good Eyesight Patroness of the Blind - Feast Day: December 13th - Both Calendars
The Meaning of the Name “Lucy”
The name Lucy means “light.” It has the same root as “lucid” which means “clear, radiant, understandable.”
Lucy had the courage to stand up and be counted a Christian in spite of torture and death. This is the light that should lead us on our own journey through life.
The Life of Saint Lucy
Saint Lucy was born to honourable and wealthy parents in Syracusa, Italy, and educated from her cradle in the faith of Christ. She lost her father in her infancy, but Eutychia, her mother, furnished her with tender and sublime sentiments of piety and religion. By the early impressions which Lucy received and the strong influence of divine grace, she discovered no disposition but toward virtue. As a young girl, she offered to God the flower of her virginity. She kept this vow a secret even from her mother. Meantime, the mother pressed her to marry a young gentleman who was a pagan. The saint sought ways to hinder this design from taking effect.
At about this same time, her mother was visited with a long and troublesome flux of blood, under which she laboured for four years without finding any remedy by recourse to physicians. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel, suffering from the same disorder, had been healed by the divine power. They determined to make a journey to Catania, a port of Sicily, where the tomb of Saint Agatha, martyred in 251, was already a site of pilgrimage. “Saint Agatha,” Lucy said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died, only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” The Saint of Catania had already saved that city, when Mount Etna had erupted the year after her martyrdom: some frightened pagans, seeing a course of lava descending directly toward the city, had uncovered her tomb, and at once the lava stopped.
Saint Lucy and her mother spent an entire night praying by the tomb, until, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in a vision to St. Lucy, addressing her sister in the faith, foretold her mother’s recovery and Lucy’s future martyrdom: “You will soon be the glory of Syracusa, as I am of Catania.” At that instant the cure was effected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and to conserve her virginity.
The young pagan who had sought Lucy’s hand in marriage, denounced her as a Christian during the persecution of Diocletian. Our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin He had chosen for His own. The executioners who would have taken her to a house of ill fame were unable to move her. The exasperated prefect gave orders to attach her by cords to harnessed bulls, but the bulls, too, did not succeed. The prefect accused her of being a magician. He asked her, “How can you, a feeble woman, triumph over a thousand men?” Lucy replied, “Bring ten thousand, and they will not be able to combat against God.” A fire around her did her no harm; though she was covered with resin and oil. When a sword was plunged into her heart, the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled, St. Lucy died, predicting peace for the Church.
Feast Day Customs
Since her name, “Lucia,” means “Light,” light plays a role in the customs of her Feast Day. In Italy, torchlight processions and bonfires mark her day, and bowls of a cooked wheat porridge known as cuccia is eaten because, during a famine, the people of Syracuse invoked St. Lucy, who interceded by sending a ship laden with grain.
Lucy’s name is probably also connected to statues of Lucy holding a dish with two eyes on it. This refers to another legend in which Lucy’s eyes were put out by Diocletian as part of his torture. The legend concludes with God restoring Lucy’s eyes.
The Saints had to bear sufferings and temptations greater far than any of ours. How did they overcome them? By the love of Christ. Nourish this pure love by meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life; and, above all, by devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is the antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.
Prayer to God in Her Honor
O God, our Creator and Redeemer, mercifully hear our prayers and as we venerate Your servant, St. Lucy, for the light of faith You bestowed upon her, increase and preserve this same light also in our souls, that we may be able to avoid evil, to do good, and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin.
Relying on Your goodness, O God, we humbly ask You by intercession of Your servant, St. Lucy, to give perfect vision to our eyes, that they may serve for Your greater honor and glory, for our salvation and that of others, and that we may come to the enjoyment of the unfailing light of the Lamb of God in paradise.
St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear our prayer and obtain our petitions. Amen.
Prayer to Her for Assistance
St. Lucy, your beautiful name signifies light. By the light of faith which God bestowed upon you, increase and preserve this light in my soul so that I may avoid evil, be zealous in the performance of good works, and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin. By your intercession with God, obtain for me perfect vision for my bodily eyes and the grace to use them for God’s greater honor and glory and the salvation of all men. St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. Amen.
Lord, may the intercession of Your virgin and martyr St. Lucy help us so that, as we celebrate her heavenly birthday on earth, we may contemplate her triumph in heaven. Amen
Prayer to Saint Lucy
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
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