Lucia, Or Lucy
LUCIA, or LUCY, ST, was a noble Christian virgin of Syracuse, who lived in the reign of Diocletian. Her mother, having been miraculously cured of an illness at the sepulchre of St Agatha in Catania, was persuaded by Lucia to distribute all her wealth to the poor. The youth to whom the daughter had been betrothed forthwith denounced her to Paschasius the prefect, who ordered that she should be taken away and subjected to shameful outrage. But it was found that no force which could be applied was able to move her from the spot on which she stood ; even boiling oil and burning pitch had no power to hurt her, until at la:t she was slain with the sword. Such in substance is the narrative of the appropriate lessons given in the Roman Breviary for the festival of St Lucia on December 13 (duplex); a later legend represents her as having plucked out her eyes when they threatened to become a snare to her lover, and as having had them afterwards restored to her more beautiful than before. In art she is represented as suffering martyrdom, as bearing her eyes on a salver, or as carrying a flaming lamp in her hand; in the last case she is the type of celestial light or wisdom (comp. Dante, Irrf., ii.; Purg., ix.; Par., xxxii.). She is invoked in cases of eye-disease, and is also regarded as the patroness of the labouring poor.