Saint Lucy, also known as Saint Lucia, was born in about 283, AD. Her father died when she was young, so that left just her and her mother Eutychia to fend for themselves. She had a decent dowry, but decided to give it to the poor. Her mother did not know of Lucy’s intentions and arranged for her to be married.
Eutychia had been very ill with a bleeding disorder and made a pilgrimage to Catania, where there was a shrine for Saint Agatha. While there, St. Agatha came to Lucy in a dream and told her that because of her faith, her mother would be cured and that she would be a Saint.
When others found out that Lucy was giving away her jewels and riches- the intended husband denounced her and reported this to Paschasius, the governer of Syracuse, Italy. Paschasius ordered her to pay for her sins by burning a sacrifice in the emperor’s image. When she refused, he sentenced her to be defiled at a brothel. HARSH. It is said that when the guards came to take her away, she could NOT be moved, no matter what they did- even when they hitched her to a team of oxen- Lucy could not move from where she sat. When they tried to burn her- she could not be burned. But alas, they stabbed her, which did kill the poor girl . One of the stories reports that she had been tortured by eye-gouging. They had her eyes removed before death, but when her body was being prepared for burial, her eyes had been miraculously restored.
She is venerated as a Saint in the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox churches. Her feast falls during advent on December 13th, coinciding with the Winter Solstice, so her feast day has become the “festival of light.” She is often depicted holding a cup or plate with eyes. She is the patron Saint of the blind, martyrs, epidemics, throat infections and writers. Oh- and salesmen. weird.
In Scandinavian countries, where the winters are so long and dark, Saint Lucia celebrations include young girls dressed in white, carrying palms and wearing a crown of candles. The white dressed represent martyrdom and the palms symbolize good over evil. Celebrating Saint Lucia is suppose to help one live through the long winter days with enough light.