Saints of the Canon – 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 CommonsSaint Lucy was born at Syracuse, in Sicily, of wealthy parents. Her mother became ill and Saint Lucy made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha, who had lived in Sicily fifty-two years before her. Her mother was cured. In gratitude Saint Lucy sold her ornaments, her personal property, and distributed the proceeds among the poor.

During the tenth persecution she was imprisoned as a Christian. Commanded to offer sacrifice to the gods, she refused, saying to her judge, Paschasius: “Pure hearts are the temples of the Holy Ghost.” Her accusers tried to drag her to a house of ill-fame, but she was rooted to the ground like a pillar, and to move her they failed.

In the Gradual of her Mass we pray: “Your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness.”

The “oil” gave Saint Lucy suppleness and strength of soul which enabled her to face death rather than yield the treasure of her virginity.

Tradition says that her eyes were put out by her torturers before her death. The name, Lucy, means light, and it is probably on this account that her intercession is invoked by those with eye trouble.

She was martyred at Syracuse, in Sicily, about the year 304 during the reign of Diocletian as Roman Emperor.

– from The Saints of the Canon, by Monsignor John T. McMahon, M.A., Ph.D; Australian Catholic Truth Society, 1958