The account of the life and the passion of Saint Lucia, written in the fourth century, intertwines, as often for the first martyrs, real and legendary facts. The story of Saint Lucia retained by the Roman martyr records is the following.
Lucy was born into a noble and rich Syracuse family in Sicily in the 3rd century. Her name comes from “lux” which means light in Latin. As a young girl, she came with her mother, Eutychie, to pray at the tomb of Saint Agatha in Catania to heal her mother, who was suffering from an incurable blood disorder. As she fell asleep in the sanctuary, the girl had a dream in which Saint Agatha appeared to her and said: “Lucie, my sister, why ask me what your faith could obtain by itself? Your mother's healed. You will soon be the glory of Syracuse, as I am the glory of Catania.” Giving thanks for the healing of her mother, Lucie vowed to remain a virgin and immediately disposed of her jewelry and property. After that, her fiancé denounced her as a Christian.
The girl was brought before the governor, who asked her to sacrifice to the gods. She refused and remained inflexible despite the threats. The executioners then came to seize her, but Lucia was unshakable as a stone block. They tried to pull her with ropes, they harnessed oxen, nothing could make her move. This dialogue between Lucy and the exasperated governor is recorded as:
“What evil do you use?
I do not resort to evil, but the power of God is with me.
How can you, woman of nothing, triumph over a thousand men?
Bring ten thousand, they will not be able to fight against God. ”
Lucie was then tormented: she was covered with oil, pitch and resin and set on fire, but the flame did not reach her. In the end, Lucia was killed with a sword, it was in 305, under the persecution of the emperor Diocletian.
Lucia was proclaimed a virgin and a martyr. She is celebrated on December 13. Her name is part of the canon of the Mass, the litany of the saints and the litany of the dying. The relics of Saint Lucia were first venerated in Syracuse, then transported to Constantinople and finally, to Venice, where they are still today.
Saint Lucia is represented on the mosaics of the Basilica of Saint-Apollinaire-le-Neuf in Ravenna with other virgins and martyrs: Agatha, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, Felicity and Perpetua, also mentioned in the Eucharistic prayer.
Saint Lucia is the patron saint of the blind, ophthalmologists and opticians. Indeed, around the fourteenth century, because of her name which evokes light, the visually impaired began to invoke it to regain sight. At this time, the first representations of Saint Lucy appear, bearing a tray with eyes.
In Scandinavia and especially in Sweden, but also in Finland, the feast of light is celebrated around December 13th. These Nordic countries experience long winter nights, and at this time, the days start to get longer. Since the name of Lucia has always been associated with light, the Christian feast of Saint Lucia replaced the ancient pagan feast. On this occasion, the girls make a procession, dressed in white dresses holding a candle in their hand and wearing a luminous crown. At their head, one of them walks, embodying "Lucia". In every house, people celebrate the feast of Saint Lucy by eating small cakes in the shape of stars.
The feast of Saint Lucia is also celebrated in Italy and Corsica with a torchlight parade.
Saint Lucia is invoked against problems in the eyes and bleeding or loss of blood, and since the fourth century, her intercession has been recognized as so powerful that she is worshiped everywhere.
My God, Creator and Redeemer, listen to our prayers with mercy as we venerate your servant, Saint Lucia, for the enlightened faith you have given her.
Increase and preserve this same light in our souls so that we can avoid evil, do good and reject above all the blindness and darkness of sin.
Trusting in your goodness, Lord, we humbly implore you, through the intercession of your handmaid, Saint Lucia, to open our eyes to the light to honor and glorify you; for the salvation of our souls in this world; so that we may enjoy eternal light with the Lamb of God in paradise.
Saint Lucia, virgin and martyr, hear our prayers and get us grace. Amen”
Saint Lucia, you who preferred to have your eyes pulled out rather than deny your faith and stain your soul;
God, by an extraordinary miracle, made you two more healthy and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith and made you the protector against eye diseases.
I'm calling on you to protect my eyesight and cure the disease with my eyes.
O Saint Lucia, preserve the light of my eyes so that I can see the beauty of creation.
Also preserve the eyes of my soul, my faith, thanks to which I can recognize my God, understand his teachings, recognize his love and never deceive me on the way that will lead me where you find yourself, Saint Lucia, in the company of angels and saints.
Saint Lucia, protect my eyes and keep my faith.