A Garner of Saints – Saint Lucy

detail of a painting of Saint Lucy; oil on panel, 1521, by Domenico di Pace Beccafumi; Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

A noble virgin of Syracuse, who having heard of Saint Agatha went to the saint’s tomb with her mother Eutichia who had suffered for four years from a bloody flux. As they were praying at the tomb Lucy fell asleep and saw Saint Agatha standing in the midst of angels who announced that Eutichia would be made whole, and on awaking she found that her mother was healed. Retuming home they distributed their goods to the poor. While this was going on, the fiancé of Lucy heard of it, and questioned Lucy’s nurse upon the matter. The nurse replied that Lucy was selling her property in order to be able to buy a better. When the youth heard this, he interpreted it literally, and took part in facilitating the sale. However, after everything had been sold the youth accused Lucy before the pro-consul, saying that she was a Christian. Accordingly she was arrested and asked to sacrifice. After an altercation with the pro-consul he gathered together a number of men of evil life and said to them: “I abandon this woman to all the people, let them do what they will with her.” But when they laid hands on her to take her to a place of ill repute, they found her so heavy that she could not be moved. Then Paschasius, the pro-consul, called a thousand men, and they tried to pull her away, but without success, while several pair of oxen proved equally unable to move her. After this the magicians were called, but their incantations were fruitless, and they tried the effect of throwing water over her, hoping thus to break the spell, but still she remained unmoveable. Finally Paschasius, in a rage, ordered that a fire should be lighted under her, and pitch, resin and boiling oil thrown upon her, yet even in this she stood unharmed. But she prayed to the Lord for the crown of martyrdom in order to remove the fear of suffering from the believers. The friends of Paschasius, seeing his desperation, plunged a sword into her throat. She however did not lose the power of her speech, but prophesied the return of peace to the Church, the death of the Emperor Maximian and the ejection of Diocletian, adding that God had granted that she should be intercessor for Syracuse. The same hour came ministers from Rome to arrest Paschasius, and being convicted of peculation he suffered death. Lucy however remained in the place where she had been struck, and only perished after receiving the sacrament. Her body was taken to Constantinople and there buried. The fact that she is often represented carrying her eyes probably gave rise to the following legend. Being much followed about by a young man, she one day asked him the reason of his attentions. He replied that he was attracted by the beauty of her eyes. Immediately she put out both her eyes and offered them to- him, asking him to leave her in peace. Protecting saint for diseases of the eyes and patron of peasants. 13th December.

Attributes

  • Sword in neck; also carries a dish in which are two eyes; sometimes carries a burning lamp.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Lucy”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 April 2017. Web. 29 May 2017. <>