Saint Lucy was born about 283 AD in Syracuse, Sicily and died about 304 AD in the same area. The thing about saints born so long ago is that there weren’t many (if any) records kept to detail their lives and deaths. Often times their histories were told and retold orally many times before they were ever written down. Legends grew over time. There are several legends attributed to Saint Lucy, some may be based in truth, others may be nothing more than myths. It’s hard to say which are which.
One legend says Lucy was betrothed against her will and vowed to remain a virgin as a pledge to her faith in Jesus Christ. Supposedly her betrothed didn’t like that idea and reported her (as a Christian) to the Roman authorities. The legend has it that her eyes were gouged out as punishment. Or she gouged them out herself and offered them to her captors. (There are different versions.) This legend was commonly believed and when she was the subject of artists in the 1500s she was depicted with her eyeballs on a plate. And for that reason and because her name means “light”, she is the patron saint of the blind and eye disorders.
The one thing that seems to be accepted as fact is that she was persecuted for her belief in Jesus Christ.
There are St Lucy (Lucia) light festivals held in some Scandinavian countries. According to folk legend, December 13th follows the longest night of the year in Sweden. In celebration, school girls dress up in white robes with a candle-lit wreath on their heads. What a lovely sight that must be!
In Italy and Sicily, Saint Lucy is honored on December 13th with dinner feasts of pasta dishes and other Italian foods. Now that’s a grand idea, don’t you think? Perhaps you will honor Saint Lucy with pasta at dinner tonight!
My mother’s name was Lucy. Actually, she was baptized in the Catholic church as Lucja (Polish version of Lucy) and legally her name was Lucille. But everyone called her Lucy. I always wondered why she was given that name. She wasn’t named for anyone in the family. Nor for her Godmother. Nor for my grandmother’s best friend in America. The thought crossed my mind that she may have been named for St Lucy but I can’t find any information about the saint that would have my grandmother naming her daughter after her. And the timing wasn’t right for her to have been named for the saint simply because her birth was in close proximity to the feast day. The Feast of St Lucy is today, December 13th while my mother was born in July. Perhaps she was given the name simply because my grandmother or grandfather liked it. Back in 1918, when she was born, Lucille was the 29th most common name for baby girls.