St. Lucia the Virgin-martyr of Syracuse (+304)
Commemorated December 13
According to tradition, St. Lucy (also spelled Lucy, Lucia, Lukia) was born of rich and noble parents. Her mother’s name, Eutychia, indicates that she was of Greek heritage. Her father was Roman and died when she was five year old, leaving St. Lucy and her mother without a protective guardian.
Like many of the early martyrs, St. Lucy consecrated her virginity to God and hoped to distribute her dowry to the poor. Not knowing of St. Lucy’s promise, her mother feared for her daughter’s future. So, she arranged St. Lucy’s marriage to a young man of a wealthy pagan family.
Eutychia was persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania,in hopes of a cure from a bleeding disorder. While there, St. Agatha came to Lucy in a dream and told her that because of her faith her mother would be cured and that Lucy would be the glory of Syracuse. With her mother cured, St. Lucy tried to persuade her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor. St. Lucy said, "...whatever you give away at death for the Lord's sake you give because you cannot take it with you. Give now to the true Savior, while you are healthy, whatever you intended to give away at your death.”
News of St. Lucy’s decision came to her betrothed, who denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Syracuse. Paschasius ordered St. Lucy to burn a sacrifice to the emperor's image. When she refused, Paschasius sentenced her to be defiled in a brothel. Tradition relates that when the guards came to take her away, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. Wood was then heaped about her and set on fire, but would not burn. Finally, St. Lucy met her death by the sword.
Before St. Lucy died, she foretold the punishment of Paschasius, the speedy end of the persecution, Diocletian would reign no more, and Maximian would meet his end. Paschasius was so enraged that he ordered the guards to remove her eyes. When her body was prepared for burial in the family mausoleum, it was discovered that her eyes had been miraculously restored.