Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent & St. Lucy, December 13,2017

Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent & St. Lucy, December 13,2017

A story from the Acts of Saint Lucy’s life tells us that she consecrated herself to Christ at a young age despite the marriage arrangements that were made by her mother, Eutychia. When Eutychia suffered from a hemorrhage, she was cured after venerating the relics of Saint Agatha near Syracuse. The miraculous healing softened Eutychia’s heart toward her daughter, who henceforth set about distributing the family’s wealth to the poor. Lucy’s pagan fiance, on the other hand, was incensed by the squandering of the fortune. He denounced her to the governor. As in Agatha’s case, tradition suggests that Lucy’s tormentors were determined to violate her virginal body, but she was miraculously preserved. Lucy died around 303 A.D.


Opening Prayer

“Lord, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may I wholly desire what is good and in accord with your will.”  In your Name, I pray and embrace your way of grace so I may be free from sin. Amen.

Reading I
Is 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mt 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Experience of being yoke to Christ

There are times when we cannot fall asleep because of problems that confront us.  We toss and turn in bed because of the burdens that heavily burden our mind and heart.  We become restless, anxious and fearful.  Yet, when we look back and try to assess our life, we realize how things fell in place in the past and how they worked out ‘though maybe not in accordance with how we wanted things to end.  We realize that worrying about a lot of things was useless and really did not matter.  We learn that worrying did not at all affect the eventual outcome of a concern neither did it improve our lot.

When we are burdened, we tend to dwell on our painful experiences and the bad things that have transpired in our life.  We are swallowed by what is confronting us, by what is negative.  We become so focused on one’s self and we forget our dependence on God.  However when we choose to address our burdens in prayer and turn to Jesus, our entire perspective changes.

When we say and accept that we belong to Jesus and no one else, our faith in God deepens and we are able to give Him control over us.  To the degree that we continue to live in FAITH, to that degree our soul and total being finds true peace and rest.

Brethren, we have to be yoked to Christ every step of the way in our spiritual walk.  This means we have to rely on Jesus and give Him our burdens and to accept the need that we have to walk with Him, side by side, if we have to reach our home with the Father.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light”

Jesus will never fail us. Let us all surrender our cares to Him!


Cast all your burdens upon Jesus and claim His promise of rest and peace as you live in the light of His love.


Lord Jesus, whenever I feel lost and with no one to give me comfort, whenever I feel despair and my world seems to crumble into pieces, give me your strength and the faith to seek You so that I may live my life for You.  Amen.

Reflection 2 – My yoke is easy 

Let us recall how much Jesus has done for us in order to win us back to Himself and the Father. Jesus died for us on the Cross for a reason – not only to save us but to show us how to love, so that by His witness we may likewise be able to love perfectly.

Being yoked to Christ means to rely on Him, to give Him our burdens and to accept the real need of walking with Him, side by side and hand in hand. Today, Jesus is once more reminding us that He is waiting for us to walk with Him in His love. He is patiently watching us to turn away from our perspective that we can be self-made and be made whole through own efforts. But rather He wants us to live according to His will and be empowered by His Spirit so that we may not only be able to live in His love, but love others with His true and sincere love. So that we may in time be able to dedicate our lives to Him and His people with a love that endures and forgives. So that we may experience life to the full and be filled with nothing less than His divine will and love.

Let us ask ourselves: How yoked are we to Christ?   Has serving God and His people become a burden especially when we do not get any kind of recognition for our work? Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Is our experience close to what Jesus has declared? If not, we have to seek His guidance in prayer and in total surrender to his will, gaze into His Sacred Heart. Jesus will lead us to fullness of joy that is beyond compare.

Jesus is asking to set aside all our apprehensions and to abandon all our man made pre-requisites to His work. He wants us to depend solely on Him and His grace and follow Him wherever He may bring us in our work for Him. Such will make us yoked upon Him… such will bring us the joy and the fulfillment of doing His work even if we are in the midst of wolves.

Don’t let yourself become a victim of fruitless fretting. If you do, you’ll lose the peace and joy that is your rightful heritage. Instead, set aside part of each day to talk with God, thanking Him for who He is and what He has done for you. Then, by reading His Word and believing His comforting promises, your faith will grow stronger and a supernatural peace will flood your soul. Jesus said, “Come to Me, . . . and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). Have you learned to rest in Him? When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.

Direction Giving our lives to Christ will enable us to live life to the fullest. Work for the propagation of His command to love. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.

Prayer Heavenly Father, You are my Strength and with You I am complete. In Jesus, I always hope and pray. Amen.

Reflection 3 – Gentleness and kindness

Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me” (Mt 11:28-29). What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the gospel? What makes our life overburdened?

Here’s a story of a newly wed couple in one of those terrible, sudden storms on a remote country road. Unable to go any further, they got out of their car and wallowed through mud to an old farmhouse. They saw a light in the window. By the time they reached the farm house, there was an elderly couple there waiting for them with a kerosene lamp. They had seen them from the window.

Meeting them at the door the young man exclaimed their predicament and pleaded, “Could you please put us up for the night? Any place on the floor, would do just fine.” The elderly couple exchanged knowing glances and said, “By all means, certainly. You can have the guest room.

So the newly weds used the guest room that night. They got up early, not wishing to disturb the old couple. They got dressed, and the man left a ten dollar bill on the dresser. Then came out of the bedroom, there sleeping on the couch was the husband and crumpled up in a chair was the wife. And the newly married couple realized that this poor couple had no guest room, but they had given freely to strangers. Then the new couple noticed this act of kindness unburdened their life.

The gentleness and kindness of Jesus can help us unburden our problems in life. He has carried the eternal burden of our sins. He has been chastised in our place. In Him, there is always available to us a place of light and refreshment where we can unload our sins and be given new life. But it must start from within by our kindness and gentleness to give time to Jesus in the sacrament of confession and receiving Jesus at the Holy Eucharist. And Jesus challenged us to become the bread of others by our generosity, gentleness and kindness like the old couple who give up their bed for the stranger.

Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a weight of glory and victory from sin. The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of grace and freedom from the power of sin. Do you trust in God’s love and submit to his will and plan for your life?

“Lord, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may wholly desire what is good and in accord with your will.”

Reflection 4 – Come to me and I will give you rest

What kind of yoke does the Lord Jesus have in mind for each one of us? And how can it be good for us? The Jewish people used the image of a yoke to express their submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God. Jesus  says his yoke is “easy”. The Greek word for “easy” can also mean “well-fitting”. Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well for labor. We are commanded to put on the “sweet yoke of Jesus” and to live the “heavenly way of life and happiness”. Oxen were yoked two by two. Jesus invites each one of us to be yoked with him, to unite our life with him, our will with his will, our heart with his heart.

Jesus carries our burdens with us
Jesus also says his “burden is light”. There’s a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. “That’s a heavy load you are carrying there,” exclaimed the man. “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother!” responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it’s given in love and carried in love. When we yoke our lives with Jesus, he also carries our burdens with us and gives us his strength to follow in his way of love. Do you know the joy of resting in Jesus’ presence and walking daily with him along the path he has for you?

In the Advent season we celebrate the coming of the Messiah King who ushers in the reign of God. The prophets foretold that the Messiah would establish God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Those who put their trust in God and in the coming of his kingdom receive the blessings of that kingdom – peace with God and strength for living his way of love, truth, and holiness (Isaiah 40). Jesus fulfills all the Messianic hopes and promises of God’s kingdom. That is why he taught his disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  In his kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured out for all its citizens. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one.

Freed from the burden of sin and guilt
The yoke of Christ’s kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates us from the burden of guilt and disobedience. Only the Lord Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a yoke of glory, freedom, and joy with him. The yoke which the Lord Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of power and freedom to live in love, peace, and joy as God’s sons and daughters. Do you trust in God’s love and truth and submit to his will for your life?

“Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the sweet yoke of submission to your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may wholly desire what is good and in accord with your will.” – Read the source:


Reflection 5 – Living in the Light to share the Light

To give birth to Christ and brighten the world around us with his light, we must remain in the light of Christ.

Basking in the light of Christ should be very restful. But it doesn’t always seem so, right? Not when it’s too bright! When Jesus reveals to us a sin that we’ve been committing, our first instinct is to slam our eyelids shut. Then we either run away and hide, or we wrestle and struggle and squirm in his arms.

It’s hard to get away from the light of truth. Everyone tries, but no one succeeds. Oh, for a while, we might mask the purity of the light of truth with colors of our own choosing, but when we really, sincerely want to become more like Christ, we let him transfigure our human nature into his divine glow. And when we truly trust him, we readily accept the changes.

The light of Christ is restful only when we let go of our desire to interpret the truth according to what’s most convenient for us and what’s easiest for us to believe. Sometimes we misunderstand the value of a truth — for example, a teaching of the Church that we don’t like because it’s inconvenient or because it doesn’t make sense to us (such as the ban against artificial contraception or why marriage is meant to be a Sacrament between one man and one woman) — and so we reject the teaching as if it’s a dark spot on the Church’s wall. But rejecting it prevents us from sharing the light of Christ with others.

We become distributors of darkness until we stop resisting what God is doing in the light. We need to relax and allow his light to consume us, trusting that we’re safe in this transformation process because of God’s goodness. Then, as described in today’s Gospel reading, we’re strengthened by yoking ourselves to Jesus. To be yoked to Jesus means teaming up with him to love as he loves, to plow what he plows, and to go where he goes.

Our burdens grow lighter as Jesus helps us pull the load. The world around us grows brighter as he takes us in a different direction than where we were headed under the weight of anger and resistance and the illusion that life must be easy to be good.

When we relax in the light of Christ, we begin to understand how he’s meek and humble of heart. To be meek means to be strong in the truth without forcing it upon anyone. Jesus knows how to create an environment in which others actually want to find out why we believe what we believe. If we don’t resist what he’s doing by trying to tug him in the wrong direction, his yoke is easy.

In this life of being united to Jesus, he helps us work harder. He exercises us while patiently waiting for us to build up our strength so that we can go farther in distributing his light.

It reminds me of the colorful array of Christmas lights on a house when they work together to form a constellation that redefines old shapes while breaking the darkness. Yoking ourselves to Jesus is like this, redefining old shapes and patterns in our lives according to the light of truth as we rest in the strength of Christ’s love and guidance.

And this is how we become more effective at birthing Jesus more fully into the world. – Read the source:


Reflection 6 – St. Lucy (d. 304 A.D.)

Every little girl named Lucy must bite her tongue in disappointment when she first tries to find out what there is to know about her patron saint. The older books will have a lengthy paragraph detailing a small number of traditions. Newer books will have a lengthy paragraph showing that there is little basis in history for these traditions. The single fact survives that a disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being a Christian and she was executed in Syracuse (Sicily) in the year 304. But it is also true that her name is mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer, geographical places are named after her, a popular song has her name as its title and down through the centuries many thousands of little girls have been proud of the name Lucy.

One can easily imagine what a young Christian woman had to contend with in pagan Sicily in the year 300. If you have trouble imagining, just glance at today’s pleasure-at-all-costs world and the barriers it presents against leading a good Christian life.

Her friends must have wondered aloud about this hero of Lucy’s, an obscure itinerant preacher in a far-off captive nation that had been destroyed more than 200 years before. Once a carpenter, he had been crucified by the Roman soldiers after his own people turned him over to the Roman authorities. Lucy believed with her whole soul that this man had risen from the dead. Heaven had put a stamp on all he said and did. To give witness to her faith she had made a vow of virginity.

What a hubbub this caused among her pagan friends! The kindlier ones just thought her a little strange. To be pure before marriage was an ancient Roman ideal, rarely found but not to be condemned. To exclude marriage altogether, however, was too much. She must have something sinister to hide, the tongues wagged.

Lucy knew of the heroism of earlier virgin martyrs. She remained faithful to their example and to the example of the carpenter, whom she knew to be the Son of God. She is the patroness of eyesight.


If you are a little girl named Lucy, you need not bite your tongue in disappointment. Your patron is a genuine, authentic heroine, first class, an abiding inspiration for you and for all Christians. The moral courage of the young Sicilian martyr shines forth as a guiding light, just as bright for today’s youth as it was in A.D. 304.


“The Gospel tells us of all that Jesus suffered, of the insults that fell upon him. But, from Bethlehem to Calvary, the brilliance that radiates from his divine purity spread more and more and won over the crowds. So great was the austerity and the enchantment of his conduct.”

“So may it be with you, beloved daughters. Blessed be the discretion, the mortifications and the renouncements with which you seek to render this virtue more brilliant…. May your conduct prove to all that chastity is not only a possible virtue but a social virtue, which must be strongly defended through prayer, vigilance and the mortification of the senses” (St. John XXIII, Letter to Women Religious).

Patron Saint of: Blind, Eye disorders

Related St. Anthony Messenger article(s) 

Patron Saints for Modern Challenges, by Thomas Craughwell

Read the source:

Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

This article is about the Christian saint. For other uses, see Saint Lucia (disambiguation).
Niccolò di Segna - Saint Lucy - Walters 37756.jpg

Saint Lucyby Niccolò di Segna mid 14th-century Sienese painting, circa 1340. The saint holds the dagger with which she was ultimately executed and the lamp, her attribute.
BORN trad. c. 283[1]
DIED 304
CANONIZED Pre-congregation
MAJOR SHRINE San Geremia, Venice
ATTRIBUTES cord; eyes; eyes on a dish; lamp; swords; woman hitched to a yoke of oxen; woman in the company of Saint Agatha, Saint Agnes of Rome, Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Thecla; woman kneeling before the tomb of Saint Agatha
PATRONAGE blindmartyrsPerugia, Italy;MtarfaMaltaepidemics; salesmen, Syracuse, Italy,throat infections, writers

Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia (ItalianSanta Lucia), was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman CatholicAnglican,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 in the West on 13 December. St. Lucia of Syracuse was honored in the Middle Ages and remained a well-known saint in early modern England.[3]


All that is really known for certain of Lucy is that she was a martyr in Syracuse during the Diocletianic Persecution of 304 AD. Her veneration spread to Rome, and by the 6th century to the whole Church. The oldest archaeological evidence comes from the Greek inscriptions from the catacombs of St. John in Syracuse.

The oldest record of her story comes from the fifth-century ActsJacobus de Voragine‘s Legenda Aurea was the most widely read version of the Lucy legend in the Middle Ages. In medieval accounts, Saint Lucy’s eyes are gouged out prior to her execution.


All the details of her life are the conventional ones associated with female martyrs of the early 4th century. John Henry Blunt views her story as a Christian romance similar to the Acts of other virgin martyrs.[4]

According to the traditional story, Lucy was born of rich and noble parents about the year 283. Her father was of Roman origin, but died when she was five years old,[5] leaving Lucy and her mother without a protective guardian. Her mother’s name Eutychia, seems to indicate that she came of Greek stock.

Like many of the early martyrs, Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped to distribute her dowry to the poor. However, Eutychia, not knowing of Lucy’s promise and suffering from a bleeding disorder feared for Lucy’s future. She arranged Lucy’s marriage to a young man of a wealthy pagan family.

Eutychia and Lucy at the Tomb of Saint Agatha, byJacobello del Fiore

Saint Agatha had been martyred fifty-two years before during the Decian persecution. Her shrine at Catania, less than fifty miles from Syracuse attracted a number of pilgrims; many miracles were reported to have happened through her intercession. Eutychia was persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, in hopes of a cure. 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.[1]

Euthychia suggested that the sums would make a good bequest, but Lucy countered, “…whatever you give away at death for the Lord’s sake you give because you cannot take it with you. Give now to the true Savior, while you are healthy, whatever you intended to give away at your death.”[6]

News that the patrimony and jewels were being distributed came to Lucy’s betrothed, who denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Syracuse. Paschasius ordered her to burn a sacrifice to the emperor’s image. When she refused Paschasius sentenced her to be defiled in a brothel. The Christian tradition states that when the guards came to take her away, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. Bundles of wood were then heaped about her and set on fire, but would not burn. Finally, she met her death by the sword.

Lucy Before the Judge, by Lorenzo Lotto, 1523–32

Absent in the early narratives and traditions, at least until the 15th century, is the story of Lucia tortured by eye-gouging. According to later accounts, before she died she foretold the punishment of Paschasius and the speedy end of the persecution, adding that Diocletian would reign no more, and Maximian would meet his end.[1]This so angered Paschasius that he ordered the guards to remove her eyes. 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.[5]


Saint Lucy by Domenico Beccafumi, 1521, a High Renaissance recasting of a Gothic iconic image (Pinacoteca NazionaleSiena)

By the 6th century, her story was sufficiently widespread that she appears in the Sacramentary of Pope Gregory I.[4]She is also commemorated in the ancient Roman Martyrology. St. Aldhelm (English, died in 709) and later the Venerable Bede (English, died in 735) attest that her popularity had already spread to England, where her festival was kept in England until the Protestant Reformation, as a holy day of the second rank, in which no work but tillage or the like was allowed.[5]

Sigebert of Gembloux wrote a mid-eleventh century passio, to support a local cult of Lucy at Metz.[7]

The General Roman Calendar formerly had a commemoration of Saints Lucy and Geminianus on 16th of September. This was removed in 1969, as a duplication of the feast of her dies natalis on 13 December and because the Geminianus in question, mentioned in the Passio of Saint Lucy, seems to be a fictitious figure,[2] unrelated to theGeminianus whose feast is on 31 January.


Sigebert (1030–1112), a monk of Gembloux, in his sermo de Sancta Lucia, chronicled that her body lay undisturbed in Sicily for 400 years, before Faroald II, Duke of Spoleto, captured the island and transferred the body to Corfinium in the Abruzzo, Italy. From there it was removed by the Emperor Otho I in 972 to Metz and deposited in the church of St. Vincent. It was from this shrine that an arm of the saint was taken to the monastery of Luitburg in the Diocese of Speyer – an incident celebrated by Sigebert in verse.[1]

The subsequent history of the relics is not clear. According to Umberto Benigni, Stephen II (768) sent the relics of St. Lucy to Constantinople for safety against the Saracen incursions.[8] On their capture of Constantinople in 1204, the French found some relics attributed to Saint Lucy in the city, and Enrico DandoloDoge of Venice, secured them for the monastery of St. George at Venice. In 1513 the Venetians presented to Louis XII of France the saint’s head, which he deposited in the cathedral church of Bourges. Another account, however, states that the head was brought to Bourges from Rome, where it had been transferred during the time when the relics rested in Corfinium.[9]

The remainder of the relics remain in Venice: they were transferred to the church of San Geremia when the church of Santa Lucia was demolished in 1861 to make way for the new railway terminus. A century later, on 7 November 1981, thieves stole all her bones, except her head. Police recovered them five weeks later, on her feast day. Other parts of the corpse have found their way to Rome, Naples, Verona, Lisbon, Milan, as well as Germany, France and Sweden.[9]


Lucy’s Latin name Lucia shares a root (luc-) with the Latin word for light, lux. This has played a large part of Saint Lucy being named as the patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble.[10]

She is also the patroness of Syracuse in Sicily, Italy. At the Piazza Duomo in Syracuse, the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia houses the painting “Burial of St. Lucy (Caravaggio)“.

Saint Lucy is also the patron saint of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles,[citation needed] and of the US state ofNebraska.[citation needed]


Saint Lucy, by Francesco del Cossa(c. 1430 – c. 1477)

The emblem of eyes on a cup or plate apparently reflects popular devotion to her as protector of sight, because of her name, Lucia (from the Latin word “lux” which means “light”).[11][12] In paintings St. Lucy is frequently shown holding her eyes on a golden plate. Lucy was represented in Gothic art holding a dish with two eyes on it. She also holds the palm branch, symbol of victory over evil.[5]

In literature[edit]

Dante also mentions Lucia in Inferno Canto II as the messenger “of all cruelty the foe” sent to Beatrice from “The blessed Dame” (Divine Mercy), to rouse Beatrice to send Virgil to Dante’s aid. She has instructed Virgil to guide Dante through Hell and Purgatory. Lucia is only referred to indirectly in Virgil’s discourse within the narrative and does not appear. According to Robert Harrison, Professor in Italian Literature at Stanford University, and Rachel Jacoff, Professor of Italian Studies at Wellesley, Lucia’s appearance in this intermediary role is to reinforce the scene in which Virgil tries to fortify Dante’s courage to begin the journey through the Inferno.[10]

In the Purgatorio IX:52–63, Lucy carries the sleeping Dante to the entrance to Purgatory. Then in Paradiso XXXII Dante places her opposite Adam within the Mystic Rose in Canto XXXII of the Paradiso. Lucy may also be seen as a figure of Illuminating Grace or Mercy or even Justice.[13]

Lucia is also the protagonist of a Swedish novel: “Ett ljus i mörkret” (“A light in the darkness”) by Agneta Sjödin.

Her feast day was commonly described as the shortest day of the year, as it is in John Donne‘s poem, “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucie’s Day, being the shortest day” (1627). The poem begins with: “‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s”.[10]

Popular celebration[edit]

Saint Lucia procession in Sweden.

Main article: Saint Lucy’s Day

Lucy’s feast is on 13 December, in Advent. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, before calendar reforms, so her feastday has become a festival of light.[5]

This is particularly seen in Scandinavian countries, with their long dark winters. There, a young girl dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) carries palms and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In both Norway and Sweden, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. It is said that to vividly celebrate St. Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.

A special devotion to St. Lucy is practiced in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, VenetoFriuli Venezia Giulia,Trentino-Alto Adige, in the North of the country, and Sicily and Calabria, in the South, as well as in Croatian coastal region ofDalmatia. The feast is a Catholic-celebrated holiday with roots that can be traced to Sicily. On 13th of every December it is celebrated with large traditional feasts of home made pasta and various other Italian dishes, with a special dessert of wheat in hot chocolate milk. The large grains of soft wheat are representative of her eyes and are a treat only to be indulged in once a year.

In Omaha, Nebraska, the Santa Lucia Festival is celebrated each summer. Founded in 1925 by the Italian immigrant Grazia Buonafede Caniglia, it continues to this day. Members of the ethnic Italian community process with a statue of Saint Lucy through the streets of downtown Omaha, carrying also a first-class relic of Saint Lucy.

A Hungarian custom is to plant wheat in a small pot on St. Lucy’s feast. By Christmas green sprouts appear, signs of life coming from death. The wheat is then carried to the manger scene as the symbol of Christ in the Eucharist.

In the Philippines, villagers from Barangay Sta. Lucia in Magarao, Camarines Sur, hold a novena to St. Lucy nine days before her feast. A procession of the saint’s image is held every morning at the poblacion or village centre during the nine days leading up to St. Lucy’s Day, attracting devotees from other parts of the Bicol Region. Hymns to the saint, known as the Gozos, as well as the Spanish version of the Ave Maria are chanted during the dawn procession, which is followed by aMass.

List of dedications to Saint Lucy[edit]


  • Church of Saint Lucia (Iglesia de Santa Lucía), Mérida, Mexico
  • St. Lucia church, Puthoor, India.
  • St. Lucia church, Erayumanthurai, India.
  • Church of San Geremia and the grave of Saint Lucy, Venice, Italy
  • Church of St. Lucia at the Tomb[14] (Church of St. Lucia Outside the Walls), Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
  • Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, also Syracuse, Sicily.
  • Église Sainte-Lucie de Vallières, MetzMoselle, France
  • St. Lucy’s National Shrine at Micoud, Saint Lucia
  • St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr Parish, Capalonga, Camarines Norte, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Parish, Barangay Sta. Lucia, Sasmuan, Pampanga, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Parish, Barangay Manggahan, Pasig City, Philippines
  • Santa Lucia in San Jose Recoletos Parish Church, Cebu City, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sta. Lucia, Magarao, Camarines Sur, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sta. Lucia, Samal, Bataan
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sta. Lucia, San Miguel, Bulacan
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sta. Lucia, San Juan CityMetro Manila, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sta. Lucia, Pampanga CityPampanga, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sta. Lucia, Sta. Ana, Pampanga, Philippines – CPC rj simbillo
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Pinulot, Dinalupihan, Bataan
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Barangay Sucad, Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Chapel, Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines
  • Namayan Chapel, Barangay Namayan, City of Malolos, Bulacan
  • St. Lucy’s Church (Manhattan) (parish established 1900; present church built 1915)
  • St. Lucy’s Church, Bronx, New York, U.S.A. (established in 1927)[15]
  • Sta. Lucia Catholic Church, El Paso, TX
  • St. Lucy’s ChurchNewark, New Jersey
  • Church of St. Lucy, Santa Luċija, GozoKerċem, Malta
  • Medieval Chapel of St. Lucy, limits of Mtarfa Malta[16]
  • New Church of St. Lucy, Mtarfa, Malta
  • St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Sri Lanka
  • St. Lucia Church, Poonapity, Kaddaikadu, Puttlam, Sri Lanka
  • Free Church of Santa Lucia
  • Santa Luzia Church, Viana Do Castelo, Portugal
  • St. Lucy’s Church, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • Cerkev Svete Lucije, Skaručna, Slovenia
  • Iglesia de Sta. Lucia, Maracaibo, Venezuela
  • St. Lucy’s Church, Syracuse, New York



  • Sta. Lucia Elementary School, Bagong Sirang, Sta. Lucia, Magarao, Camarines Sur, Philippines
  • Sta. Lucia Elementary School, Masantol, Pampanga, Philippines
  • St. Lucia’s School, Kotahena, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • St. Lucy Catholic Elementary School, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
  • Sta. Lucia High School Novaliches, Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines
  • St. Lucy’s Priory High SchoolGlendora, California, USA
  • St. Lucy’s School of Archdiocese of Pampanga, Sasmuan, Pampanga, Philippines
  • St. Lucy’s School, Bronx, New York, U.S.A. (dedicated in 1955)[17]


See also[edit]


  1. Jump up to:a b c d Bridge, James. “St. Lucy.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Apr. 2013
  2. Jump up to:a b Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 139
  3. Jump up^ Alison Findlay Women in Shakespeare: A Dictionary 2010 p234 “(b) The play’s setting in Ephesus and its links to Syracuse suggest that, in addition to its associations with light, Luciana’s name might invoke memories of St Lucia of Syracuse, who remained a well-known saint in early modern England…”
  4. Jump up to:a b Blunt, John Henry Blunt. The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, London, 1885:176
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e “St. Lucy”, St. Lucy’s Church, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  6. Jump up^ “Ælfric’s Lives of Saints”(Walter W. Skeat, ed., Early English Text Society, original series, vols. 76, 82, 94, 114 [London, 1881–1900], revised; as found at the University of Virginia’s Old English resource pages). Retrieved 24 October 2013.External link in |work=(help)
  7. Jump up^ Sigibert von Gembloux, Acta Sanctae Luciae. Ed. Tino Licht. (Editiones Heidelbergenses, vol. 34.) Heidelberg: Winter, 2007.
  8. Jump up^ Benigni, Umberto. “Syracuse.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 28 Apr. 2013
  9. Jump up to:a b “Santa Lucia of the gondoliers brought home to Sicily”, 17 December 2004.
  10. Jump up to:a b c “Saint Lucy”, Saint Lucy Catholic Church, Racine, Wisconsin
  11. Jump up^ Tessa Paul. ‘The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Saints.’
  12. Jump up^ Alban Butler. ‘Lives of the Saints’
  13. Jump up^ See David H. Higgins’ commentary in Dante, The Divine Comedy, trans. C.H. Sisson. NY: Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-920960-X. P. 506.