The Meaning Of Saint Lucia (St. Lucy)

by December, Saints

Who Was St. Lucy?

St Lucia is an early Christian martyr with a story that brings us many traditions on her feast day, December 13th. From the Swedish procession led by a young girl wearing a crown of candles to an eldest daughter serving their families sweet treats. She is also one of the eight women that are commemorated in the Catholic Mass. So why does St. Lucia have such a special place in the Mass? Why is her feast day during the Advent season? What does her story mean? Let’s explore it and see what it tells us. 

Saint Lucia was born in 283 to rich noble parents in Syracuse, Italy. Her father, a Roman, passed away when she was a young girl leaving her mother to take care of St. Lucia on her own. Her mother eventually developed a bleeding disorder and began to worry about St Lucia’s future, not knowing she consecrated her virginity to God, she arranged her marriage to a wealthy pagan family. 

Martyred a few years earlier, St Agatha’s shrine was known for many miracles including healing. St. Lucia’s mother made the pilgrimage to the Shrine hoping to have her bleeding cured. While gone St. Agatha came to St Lucia in a dream and told her that due to her faith her mother would be cured and St Lucia would become the glory of Syracuse. When her mother was cured St. Lucia convinced her mother to give her dowry away to the poor. 

The pagan family hearing of this reported St. Lucia to the governor of Syracuse. The governor ordered St. Lucia to give an offering to an image of the Emperor, but she refused. At her refusal the governor ordered that St. Lucia be sent to a brothel to be defiled. When the guards went to carry her away she was immovable like a stone. They tried setting her on fire and tortured her by gauging her eyes out, eventually she was killed by having a sword thrust into her throat. So what does all of this mean?

Why Do Girls Wear Crowns Of Light On St. Lucy’s Day?

First we have to look at the general landscape of that time. Christianity is like a newborn child similar to Christ in the manger, vulnerable and dependent on His earthly family. St. Lucia, being a witness to Christianity, or Christ you can say, offered her virginity like the Blessed Mother for the coming of the Light into the world. This is why during her feast day in Sweden a young girl wears a crown of light. The Crown being the Light of the world glorifying the Virgin for His coming. 

What Does St. Lucy remind us of?

We can connect that detail with the feast day on December 13th. The solstice is coming , the darkest days are ahead. But St. Lucia reminds us of the Light coming into the world, the approaching Christmas season. That through our sin that brought about the darkness, a Virgin’s “yes” (both St Lucia and the Blessed Virgin) there is salvation. Thanks to St. Lucia’s yes it brought about the growth of the Christian light into the world. St. Lucia reminds us that regardless of the coming darkness because of our passions, representative in the pagans, there is hope and through both the Incarnation of the Word and Him conquering death on the cross there is always a hope and a resurrection that follows. So in a sense, her story encapsulates the Gospel stories as a whole. 

And it is through her consecration, faith, and sacrifice that leads her to be commemorated in the Mass. So as the Advent season approaches let us like St Lucia be a microcosm of the incarnation and bring out the Light of Christ into the world by participating with the Gospels and living them out in our daily lives.

Novena Prayer For St. Lucia’s Intercession

O St Lucy, you preferred to let your eyes be torn out instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul; and God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with another pair of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the protector against eye diseases. I come to you for you to protect my eyesight and to heal the illness in my eyes.

O St Lucy, preserve the light of my eyes so that I may see the beauties of creation, the glow of the sun, the color of the flowers and the smile of children.

Preserve also the eyes of my soul, the faith, through which I can know my God, understand His teachings, recognize His love for me and never miss the road that leads me to where you, St Lucy, can be found in the company of the angels and saints.

St Lucy, protect my eyes and preserve my faith. Amen.

(Say: 3 “Our Father”, 3 “Hail Mary”, 3 “Glory be”.)

O! Glorious St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most loveable Lord, save us from all infirmities of the eyes and the danger of losing them.

Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our life in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendor of the Celestial Homeland. Amen.

St Lucy, pray for us and for the most needy, to Christ our Lord. Amen.

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