Saturday, December 14, 2013

Why Should Writers Care about St. Lucia?

by Kaye George

The Her origins are lost in history, but a few things are known. Lucia, or Lucy, was born in Syracuse on Sicily and martyred in 304 AD. Legends have sprung up, however.

Here’s one I like. Lucia was said to be a beautiful girl, born into a rich and noble family in 283. Her father, from Rome, died when she was 5, leaving her and her (possibly) Greek mother without protection. The young girl wanted to consecrate herself to God. Her mother, somehow unaware of this and being sickly, arranged an engagement for her. Lucy, not wanting this of course, managed to cure her mother and talk her into dispersing their wealth to the poor in thanks for her health. (I’m thinking this happened a few years after she was 5 years old.) T
he fiancĂ© heard about this and wasn’t pleased. He outed her as a Christian (a dangerous thing to be back then). When the guards came to get her, one story says that they could not budge her. So they built a fire right there, but she wouldn’t burn. So they ran her through with a sword.

Another version is that she foretold bad things for the present emperor and he, enraged, had his guards carve out her eyes.

Another version is that she gouged out her own eyes to discourage a persistent suitor. However, at her burial, her eyes had miraculously been restored.

Icons show her carrying her eyes in a goblet to give to her suitor who had admired them.

From there, she became the patron saint of the blind and or martyrs, which makes sense. Somehow, she has also become the patron saint of epidemics, salesmen, throat infections, dysentery, and--TA DA--writers.

The gal got around after her death. Her day, December 13th in most places, is celebrated in Sweden. It used to coincide (or someone thought it coincided) with Winter Solstice and the beginning of shorter nights is something to celebrate that far north. Her day is also celebrated in Hungary and Omaha, Nebraska.



Marilyn Levinson said...

Wow! Interesting. I'm sorry about her eyes.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating story! Thanks for sharing, Kaye :)

Kaye George said...

Isn't is fitting that writers should have such a weird saint? Don't worry, Marilyn, her eyes grew back.

Morgan Mandel said...

Okay, your post made me remember the Santa Lucia song, so I Googled and found a beautiful version by Mario Lanza. Here's the link:

Morgan Mandel

Kaye George said...

Love the link! Very nice. I noticed in the comments another story about St. Lucy: Sicilians pay tribute to a miracle performed by St Lucy during a famine in 1582. At that time, she brought a flotilla of grain-bearing ships to starving Sicily, whose citizens cooked and ate the wheat without taking time to grind it into flour. Thus, on St. Lucy's Day, Sicilians don't eat anything made with wheat flour. Instead they eat cooked wheat called cuccia. Posted by Rod Warczak.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Love all these interesting legends about St. Lucia. I have a grand-daughter in-law named Lucia. We all call her Lucy.

Kaye George said...

It's a beautiful name!