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Saint Lucy Of Syracuse English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 930 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The saint I chose for my report is Saint Lucy (also known as Lucia) of Syracuse. Saint Lucy’s name means “light”, with the same root as “lucid” which means “clear, radiant, and understandable.” Unfortunately for us, Lucy’s history does not match her name, and it is has even been doubted whether many of the events even happened. Shrouded in the darkness of time, all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse, Italy lost her life in the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century. (catholics.org)

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However, there are some traditional stories that have been told about this brave woman through the centuries since her death. It is said that St. Lucy was born to rich Roman parents and converted to Christianity at an early age, then later pledged her life to God. However, her mother disagreed with the girl’s faith, as she had already arranged a marriage for her. Lucy asked her mother if she would visit the tomb of Saint Agatha, and her mother agreed. After arriving, Lucy prayed at the tomb and her mother’s hemorrhaging illness was cured, and her mother agreed to the girls faith (saints.sqpn.com).

According to catholics.org, Saint Lucy’s suitor, however, still pursued her. She successfully held off the marriage for three years, but the suitor became impatient. He desired her for her beautiful eyes, so, in an act of extreme bravery, she tore out her own eyes and sent them to her suitor, along with a note reading, “Here, now you possess what you desire, now leave the rest to me, I beg of you!” Miraculously, her sight was restored the next day (catholics).

However, her suitor could not see as clearly as Saint Lucy, and in his jealousy, betrayed her to the Roman governor of Sicily. At that time, Christian persecution was high in the world. The governor sentenced her to be put in a house of prostitution, hoping that the conditions would be so bad that she would gladly accept her suitor and leave the way of Christ. When the guards came to take her away, however, by another miracle, they found her as unmovable as stone. Because the guards could not move her, the governor then sentenced her to death by fire, but the fire wouldn’t light and harm her. Eventually, Saint Lucy was eventually stabbed in the throat and killed (Vann, Father Joseph and Thomas Plessman, 355).

This beautiful story cannot unfortunately be accepted without criticism. The details may be only a repetition of similar accounts of a virgin martyr’s life and death. However, since there is no other evidence by which the story may be tested, it can only be suggested that the facts peculiar to the saint’s story deserve special notice (Bridge).

Among these, the place and time of her death can hardly be questioned; for the rest, the most notable are her connection with St. Agatha and the miraculous cure of her mother,and it is to be hoped that these have not been introduced by the pious compiler of the saint’s story or a popular instinct to link together two national saints. Another point of dissention is how she could remove her eyes and still live. The story can be traced back to the fifth century. Though it can’t be regarded as accurate, there can be no doubt of the great reverence that was shown to St. Lucy by the early church. (Brown, Bridge).

Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind, authors, and those who suffer from eye troubles. Her symbols are the cord, eyes on a plate, a lamp, and swords. Her feast day is December thirteenth. (saints.sqpn.com)

In Sweden, a tradition sprang up on her feast day when Viking soldiers heard of Saint Lucy and her valor. They imagined her as a brilliant figure, surrounded by light. This tale was favored by northern people, since the days were short during the winter, making sunshine a precious commodity. It was also useful that Saint Lucia’s day, December 13, marked the beginning of the Winter Solstice, in Swedish folklore. Also according to folklore, unmarried girls believed that Saint Lucia would tell them who their future husband would be on her feast day.

Today, the tradition is celebrated with schools, businesses and homes selecting a “Lucia.” The Lucia is dressed in white robes and red ribbons and wears a circlet of candles on her head. Often, the oldest daughter plays Lucia, and greets her family with a breakfast of hot coffee and pastries called Lucia Buns. This honors the legend of Saint Lucia bringing food during a famine. This more modern adaptation of Saint Lucia began in the 18th century (Brown).

In conclusion, although we do not know much fact about Saint Lucy, this woman undoubtedly was courageous in the face of persecution. She stood up and was proud to be called a Christian. This brave woman is now honored worldwide for her valor and strength.

Bridge, James. “St. Lucy.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton

Company, 1910. 2 Dec. 2010.

“Saint Lucy”, catholic Online. N.P., 2010. Web. 10 December, 2010.

“Saint Lucy”. Saints.sqpn.com, notes about your family in heaven. Sqpn.com, 2010, web. 12

December, 2010.

Brown, Lorri. “History of Saint Lucia.” Suite101.com. N.P. 2010, web. 12 December 2010.

Vann, Father Joseph, O.F.M. ed., and Father Thomas Plessman. Lives of saints. N.Y., John J.

Crawley and Co., Inc. 1954. Press.


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