St. Lucy (or St. Lucia)
St. Lucy was a fourth century Christian who was blinded and martyred. She was martyred in Syracuse, Italy, probably during the time of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Although the exact circumstances of her death are unknown, many legends have been passed down over the years.
One of the most popular legends tells that her mother wanted her to marry a pagan man. Lucy, as a devoted Christian, refused. The man was angry about being rejected, and he turned her in to the authorities for being a Christian. She was sentenced to a life of prostitution in a brothel.
But when the guards came to take her away, they couldn’t move her. Even a team of oxen couldn’t pull her away. The guards piled wood around her and tried to light it on fire, but it would not burn. Some versions of the legend tell that her eyes were gouged out. Finally a sword was thrust in her throat and she perished.
Her name means “light” and her feast day coincides with the approach of the darker days of winter. For this reason, she is often celebrated as one who brings light to dark days.
In Scandinavia her feast day is celebrated with young girls carrying candles, with the lead girl wearing a wreath of lights on her head. Traditional St. Lucia rolls are also made in her honor.
Patron Saint of …
St. Lucy is the patroness of the blind, martyrs, epidemics; salesmen, throat infections, and writers.
Mass Readings for the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
- First Reading – 2 Corinthians 10:17b-11:2: “For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 31: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”
- Gospel – Matthew 25:1-13: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.”
In Sweden, her feast day is marked with celebrations. Young girls dress up as St. Lucy and these traditional rolls are made. These are traditionally made with saffron, but If you don’t have any, you can use cardamom in a pinch.
St. Lucy Gifts and Books