Lucy is one of the martyrs mentioned in the Canon of the Mass, and she is regarded as the glory of the island of Sicily. A native of Syracuse, she was the daughter of wealthy Christian parents.
Her father died when she was a child, and her mother, Eutychia, raised her with the utmost care, teaching her the path of Christian virtue. Lucy so took to the path of virtue that, wishing to belong to God alone, she vowed her virginity to Him.
Her mother, unaware of this vow and afflicted with an unrelenting illness, betrothed Lucy to a wealthy young pagan.
As Eutychia’s illness persisted, they visited the shrine of St. Agatha at Catania, close to Syracuse. There, St. Agatha, who had been martyred about fifty years earlier, appeared to Lucy granting her mother’s cure and predicting that she, Lucy, would be the glory of Syracuse as she, Agatha, was of Catania.
After this experience, Lucy revealed her plans to her mother and convinced her to distribute their fortune to the poor.
Furious at this turn of events, Lucy’s fiancé, now certain she was a Christian, denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Syracuse. Lucy was ordered to offer incense to the idols, but at her refusal, her enemies tried to take her to a brothel for defilement. This proved impossible as she became so heavy she could not be moved.
They then tried to burn her, but the flames parted leaving the maiden untouched. She finally met her death by the sword.
She is portrayed holding a pair of eyes on a platter. Some accounts say that her eyes were tortured, others that she gouged them out to discourage her suitor. In any case, she is particularly invoked for ailments of the eyes, or eyesight problems.
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”).