St. Lucy is the patron saint of the blind.

Tuesday, 12/13/11

Today is the Feast of St. Lucy, or Sancta Lucia, who was put to death in 303 during the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. None of the stories about St. Lucy can be authenticated, but the abundance of fond Christian traditions dealing with Lucy earn her a right to attention.

Lucy’s mother Eutchia  was a lady who for years had suffered from dysentery. That had the pair journeying from their home in Syracuse Sicily to the tomb of St. Agatha in Catania Sicily. Eutychia received her cure, and Lucy heard the prophecy that her tomb in Syracuse would be as famous as Agatha’s in Catania.

Before her father died he left Lucy’s dowry money with her mother Eutychia. So, when Lucy vowed her virginity to God, Eutychia promised to bequeath to the poor the sum she held for Lucy’s dowry. At that Lucy told her mother that it would be much more pleasing to God if Eutychia gave it while she lived. That had Eutychia immediately giving the dowry money to the poor.

When Lucy’s intended learned of Lucy’s unwillingness to marry him, and when he heard of Eutychia’s giving to the poor the money he had been counting on he reported Lucy to Diocletian’s soldiers as a Christian. When the judge sentenced Lucy to life in a brothel she replied that as long as she withstood sin in her heart nothing she was forced to endure would be sinful for her. We cannot be forced to sin against or will. When the soldiers tried to haul her off, her weight seemed to have increased to too many tons for the soldiers to budge. Even after hitching her to a team of oxen they could not move her, so they finished her off with a dagger into her throat.

Lucy is the patron saint of blind people. One tradition has it that her fiancée had a fondness for her eyes, and he received a gift of them at her execution. Dante gave Lucy, holding her eyes, a very high place in his Paradiso.

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