Lucy lived in the fourth century, during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, who was a great persecutor of Christians. One fact that we have about Lucy is that she was a victim of that persecution and was killed. Other than that, we don’t have much information about her life. There are many legends that cannot be verified, but may be true or at least have some elements of truth.
One such story is that Lucy had consecrated her life to Christ and planned to live as a virgin. Her mother, however, had other plans for Lucy and arranged for her to marry a pagan. Lucy knew that her mother did not understand her love of the Lord and her desire to live only for Him, so she prayed for a miracle. Her mother had been suffering for years with an illness, so Lucy prayed at the tomb of St. Agatha for her mother’s healing. Soon her mother was miraculously cured. Not only was her mother grateful, but also her eyes were opened to the power and love of God. She could now understand Lucy’s desire to give all she had away and live her life for Christ.
The pagan young man, however, was not as understanding. Being humiliated over the broken engagement, his pride led him to betray Lucy as a Christian to the governor. The governor sent guards to take her to a house of prostitution as punishment for being a Christian. However, when they grabbed hold of her, they couldn’t move her. Her body was so rigid and heavy that it was as if she were cemented to the floor.
Lucy was finally put to death, but we don’t know the specifics of her death. No doubt Lucy was tortured, as many Christians were during this time. Some legends say that her eyes were put out and then her sight miraculously restored by God. This is likely the reason why statues of Lucy often portray her holding a dish with two eyes on it. Also, Lucy’s name actually means “light” which has the same root as the word “lucid” which means “clear and easy to understand.” For these reasons Lucy has been named the patron saint of the blind and all who suffer eye problems.
Saint Lucy is one of the few female saints whose names occur in the canon of St. Gregory, and there are special prayers and antiphons for her in his “Sacramentary” and “Antiphonary.” She is also commemorated in the ancient Roman Martyrology. She was greatly venerated by the early Church.
From Johnnette Benkovic’s Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day
The Word of God moves swiftly; He is not won by the lukewarm, nor held fast by the negligent. Let your soul be attentive to His word; follow carefully the path God tells you to take, for He is swift in His passing.
— St. Ambrose, On Virginity
The path to which God called St. Lucy led her to the crown of martyrdom. What path is God calling me to walk? Is there anything impeding my progress on it — lukewarmness or negligence? St. Lucy, pray for me that I might see clearly and move swiftly to fulfill God’s most holy will. Amen.
Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, your courageous faith and great devotion and love of our Lord is an inspiration to us. Pray for us, dear saint, that we may live each day of our lives for Him and not be blinded by the things of the world. And for those who are in darkness, we pray to you, patroness of the blind, to intercede for them that they, too, may be brought into the light of Christ. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Odilia (720), Virgin, Patroness of Alsace, invoked against blindness