Patron Saint of The Blind & Eye Disorders
Born Circa 283 - - - Died Circa 304
Feast Day: December 13
St. Lucy, the Syracusan Saint, Virgin and Martyr, whose very name means "light" has looked down on the main altar of St. Lucy's Church for 107 years. She has kindled in the hearts of so many, a light that serves to strengthen them to meet their daily duties and responsibilities. For us, her name has many meanings: Our Saint, Our Church, Our Parish Community. All these bring a sense of warmth, of Church family, of belonging and of sharing. How often in all our Parish endeavors we have invoked her - "St. Lucy Pray For Us."
Her statue is a familiar one, often showing Lucy with a small platter on which rests a pair of eyes. Legend has it that her eyes were so beautiful that her persecutors had them gouged out; another that St. Lucy tore them out and presented them to her tormentors. Legend also states that her eyesight was immediately restored by a miracle of St. Raphael. Thus, St. Lucy is invoked as protectress of the eyes and Patron Saint of the blind.
Lucia, as she was named, was born in Syracuse, Sicily, near the end of the third century to a family of noble lineage and wealthy land owners. Her father died when Lucy was five years old and she was brought up by her mother, Eustichia, who was chronically ill with a blood disorder. Lucy's life was not always bright and pleasant, but she was raised as a beautiful and modest young lady, and her mother hoped for a happy marriage for her.
However, Lucy had other dreams for her life. She had, with a vow of virginity, already consecrated herself forever to her Lord Jesus. It was only on a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Agatha that her desires became known to her mother. They had come to invoke St. Agatha's prayers and intercession for her mother Eustichia's recovery. That evening, Lucy had a vision of St. Agatha who assured the girl that because of her strong faith, her mother had been cured. As a result of this miraculous cure, Lucy's mother realized her daughter was special and now knew of her saintly ideas. Lucy's mother agreed to sell their properties and distribute the proceeds to the poor. At. This time only the followers of Christ would despise the goods of this world and these actions would surely invite persecution.
It was at this time also that the man who planned marriage to Lucy and who had been rebuffed by her, denounced her as a Christian and she became subject to severe punishment and indignities.
Lucy was brought before the pagan authorities, but she refused to renounce her faith. A number of miracles followed: soldiers could not more her; she could not be set ablaze. Finally Lucy realized it was time to acknowledge Christ with martyrdom. She told the crowd that peace for the Christian Church was near, and she was beheaded on the 13th of December in the year 304.
St. Lucy's body remained in Syracuse for many centuries. In 1860, her incorrupt body was moved to the Church of St. Jeremy and St. Lucy, in Venice, Italy. The Church celebrates St. Lucy with her name included in the Canon of the Mass.
The world gives her honor and special reverence, and our St. Lucy's Church (in Newark) serves as a beacon of devotion and love to so young a model of virtue and perseverance in the pursuit of her special calling to be a Saint of God.
May she continue to inspire us to follow in her steps. May we always take to heart her dying words: "Honor Me. You Will Receive Grace and Protection."