Saint Lucy

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St. Lucy’s name means “light”, with the same root as “lucid” which means “clear, radiant, understandable.” Unfortunately for us, Lucy’s history does not match her name. Shrouded in the darkness of time, all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life in 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 grew up. The one that is passed down to us tells the story of a young Christian woman who had vowed her life to the service of Christ. Her mother tried to arrange a marriage for her with a pagan. Lucy apparently knew that her mother would not be convinced by a young girl’s vow so she devised a plan to convince her mother that Christ was a much more powerful partner for life. Through prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, her mother’s long illness was cured miraculously. The grateful mother was now ready to listen to Lucy’s desire to give her money to the poor and commit her life to God.

Unfortunately, legend has it, the rejected bridegroom did not see the same light and he betrayed Lucy to the governor as a Christian. This governor tried to send her into prostitution but the guards who came to take her way found her stiff and heavy as a mountain. Finally she was killed. As much as the facts of Lucy’s specific case are unknown, we know that many Christians suffered incredible torture and a painful death for their faith during Diocletian’s reign. Lucy may not have been burned or had a sword thrust through her throat but many Christians did and we can be sure her faith withstood tests we can barely imagine.

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. Lucy’s name also played a large part in naming Lucy as a patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble. Whatever the fact to the legends surrounding Lucy, the truth is that her courage to stand up and be counted a Christian in spite of torture and death is the light that should lead us on our own journeys through life.

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  1. I wanted to tell you, that my 13 year old daughter, Rita, has severe dry eyes and that her corneas are pitted because of it. For about 3 years now the doctors did not want to give her a prescription for glasses because her corneas were so badly damaged from the dryness, that it was preventing her to be able to see with corrective lenses. She normally wore eyeglasses. Well, the doctor she has seen a couple times put her on a very expensive drop called Restasis. This drop helps her body to produce its own tears. Her tear quality, we were told, was poor. Well, we have been using the drops ALMOST faithfully and also artificial tears called Systane. We have used these for almost a year now on a daily basis. Two days before yesterday, she put on a friend’s pair of glasses and was amazed that she could see real well with them. So, I made her an appointment with an optometrist yesterday not knowing that it was the feastday of St. Lucy. (I actually had never heard of this saint.) Anyhow, before we left, I saw your post on St. Lucy and said a quick prayer and my mom saw your post also and she told me today, that she had seen your post and prayed to St. Lucy for my dtr Rita. Well, God must’ve been smiling when St. Lucy interceded on Rita’s behalf. She corrected to 20/30 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left eye. Her vision is 20/30 using both eyes together (with the new corrective lenses) and prior to that, she couldn’t see better than 20/50 in the right eye and 20/60 in the left eye eight months earlier. Her vision would not correct to better than that so the doctors would not prescribe glasses. This is nothing short of a miracle for my daughter. We had glasses made right after the eye appointment and they were ready 2 hours later. Thank you for posting the Feastday of St. Lucy. Rita still has severe dry eyes and her corneas are still pitted, but I am sure St. Lucy had a hand in this. Because, when I made the appointment, I had never heard of St. Lucy…and it turns out it was her feastday. Thank you and God bless!!! Maria Mendoza

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