Legend has it that Saint Agatha made herself known to Lucy in a vision and stated that she would receive the glory of Syracuse (in the same manner that she did in Catania). Continuing the exploration of St. Lucy, this article takes a brief look at the chain of events that would eventually lead to Lucy’s death.
When Lucy was young, her father died, leaving her and her mother to fend for themselves. For years, her mother suffered from a medical condition and after hearing of Saint Agatha’s prominence and reading a gospel that dealt with the healing of a woman that suffered from the same ailment (which was called “bloody flux”), persuaded her mother to join her in prayer at Saint Agatha’s tomb. All night they prayed, until they grew tired and fell asleep.
Legend has it that Saint Agatha made herself known to Lucy in a vision and stated that she would receive the glory of Syracuse (in the same manner that she did in Catania). Instantly, her mother was cured.
Lucy’s mother eventually made arrangements for her daughter to marry a pagan bridegroom. This would be the start of the end of her life. From the beginning, Lucy wished that her dowry be spent on alms so that she would be able to keep her virginity. Her mother tried to convince her otherwise, but Lucy would not sway. News of Lucy’s intentions for the jewels and marriage plans spread from ear to ear, until a gossipy nurse told her intended groom that Lucy had found a much better prospect for matrimony.
Upset at the news, the pagan bridegroom announced that Lucy was a Christian and told so to the magistrate Paschasius, who laid down the order to have her burn a sacrifice to the image of the Emperor. Lucy’s reply was that she had already given him all that she possessed, stating, “I offer to him myself, let him do with his offering as it pleaseth him.” A sentence was given and Lucy was to become deflowered in a brothel.
Her response was: “The body may take no corruption but if the heart and will give thereto assenting: for if thou madest me to do sacrifice by my hands, by force, to the idols, against my will, God shall take it only but as a derision, for he judgeth only of the will and consenting. And therefore, if thou make my body to be defouled without mine assent, and against my will, my chastity shall increase double to the merit of the crown of glory. What thing that thou dost to the body, which is in thy power, that beareth no prejudice to the handmaid of Jesus Christ.”
Legend has it that when the guard came to retrieve Lucy, she was consumed with the Holy Spirit at such intensity that her body was stiff and quite heavy to remove. She was so weighted that they resorted to hitching her to a team of oxen. Later, a dagger was placed through her throat. The torture continued as her eyes were gouged out. Despite this last act against her, it is said that she was still able to see without the use of her eyes (just one of the miracles attributed to her existence). When St. Lucy is portrayed in art, she is often seen holding her eyes on top of a plate made of gold.
Lucy is now regarded as the patroness of Syracuse, where she is also known as the patron saint of the blind, as well as those with failing eyesight and other eye problems.