St Lucy (283-304)
Feast Day: 13th December
Patron Saint of the Blind (and Eye Diseases)
St Lucy, a 4th century martyr in Syracuse is still very much relevant today, a guide for us to stand firm in our faith and love our Lord no matter what opposition we may face. Her name is evocative of the Latin word ‘lucis’ or light, because during the times of the Diocletian persecution, she needed both hands to carry goods to help the Christians in the catacombs and so wore a wreath of candles in her hair to light the way through the dark tombs, dispelling the darkness of death with the light of Christ.
St Lucy’s conversion to the true Faith brought many difficulties to her, the first of which was her mother. Her father had passed away when she was 5 years old, and her mother was suffering from a bleeding disorder. Fearful for St Lucy’s future, she arranged for St Lucy’s betrothal to a wealthy pagan family. St Lucy, having already taken a vow of virginity, prayed at the tomb of St Agatha, recently martyred. Her mother was healed and St Lucy took the opportunity to persuade her mother to distribute the greater part of her riches and her dowry among the poor. As we so often see, saints beget saints and those who die in the Lord are still alive and work for our good.
This young girl’s story does not end here though. Her bethrothed denounced her to the Governor and St Lucy was ordered to burn a sacrifice to the emperor’s image. She refused, her faith unshaken, and the power of God gave this virgin a strength that matched the strength of her resolution. For when the guards came to violate her, they could not move her even after hitching her to a team of oxen!
St Lucy’s faith and love for Our Lord was such that she was unshaken and unharmed through all the torments she was put through, including being burnt in a bonfire, and having her eyes gouged out (which, true to Catholic humor, earned her the title patron saint of those with eye conditions and opthalmologists). Finally, St Lucy was killed with the sword, only after predicting the end of the Christian persecution.
This young girl, all aflame with the Love of Christ, is still alive to us today and is ever willing to help if only we turn to her whenever the practice of our Faith puts us in opposition with the world.
St Lucy, pray for us!