9. Lucia of Syracuse/Saint Lucy (283–304)

Christian martyr venerated by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches. She is one of eight women, who along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Her feast day, known as Saint Lucy’s Day, is celebrated December 13th.

According to tradition, Saint Lucy consecrated her virginity to God and wanted to distribute her dowry to the poor. Her mother, widow and sick, not knowing of Lucy’s promise, had arranged Lucy’s marriage to a young, wealthy man. Hoping to cure her mother with a miracle, Saint Lucy took her to the shrine of St. Agata in Catania. 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 Lucy would be the glory of Syracuse, as she was of Catania. With her mother cured, Lucy took the opportunity to persuade her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.

As Lucy was distributing her riches and jewels to the poors, Lucy’s betrothed denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Syracuse. Paschasius ordered her to burn a sacrifice to the Emperor’s image. Lucy refused and Paschasius sentenced her to be defiled in a brothel. The tradition states that when the guards came to take her away, they could not move her. By divine intervention; Lucy became immovable. She was next condemned to death by fire, but she proved impervious to the flames. Finally, her neck was pierced by a sword and she died.
Her eyes removed first, as punishment.

Another version has Lucy taking her own eyes out in order to discourage a persistent suitor who admired them. When her body was prepared for burial in the family mausoleum it was discovered that her eyes had been miraculously restored. Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble.

Read More: Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Lucy

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