St. Lucy is loved by the people of Sweden, but she was born in Sicily during the persecution of Diocletian at the end of the third century. Her parents were wealthy Christians. Her father died early leaving Lucy and her mother alone. Lucy wanted to remain a virgin serving Christ in the poor, but her mother had other ideas. She arranged a marriage for Lucy to a wealthy pagan. Shortly after this her mother became ill. When she did not get better, Lucy suggested that they go to St. Agatha's tomb and pray for her recovery. It was after this visit that her mother was miraculously restored to health. It was then that Lucy told her of her desire to remain a virgin and serve the poor. Her mother grateful for her healing agreed.
Lucy's suitor however was furious at the loss of the marriage, particularly the dowry that she would have brought with her had they married. In a rage he accused her of being a Christian and informed the authorities. Lucy was asked to honor the Roman gods and renounce her love of Jesus. She refused and as a result was stabbed to death; some say her eyes were gouged out beforehand. News spread of her heroic deed and many miracles were received through her intercession. Missionaries told stories of her, and the people of Scandinavia loved her. They have many traditions associated with St. Lucy that incorporate candles and lights. To this day the feast of St. Lucy is celebrated in Sweden. St. Lucy is the patron saint of all those who suffer from eye troubles. Remember to ask her intercession when you or someone you know has a problem associated with the eyes.
On a lighter note we have a recipe which is sure to engage young students and imprint on their memories the story of St. Lucy! This recipe is very easy to do in a classroom if you have a microwave. It takes only a few minutes at the most for 20 children or more to have a few of these treats.
St. Lucy Eyeballs
Prep: 5 minutes /Yield: many eyeballs!
Wagon wheel pretzels (Utz brand) /dessert size paper plates
Candy striped Hershey Kisses /microwave
M & M Candies
Place a number of wagon wheel pretzels on a dessert size paper plate.
On top of each pretzel place one Candy stripped Hershey Kiss with
foil removed. Microwave for 15 seconds or until Kiss is soft but not
runny. Remove from microwave and place a blue, brown or green
M & M on top of soft kiss. Let cool and harden for a couple of minutes.
If you are looking for a book on St. Lucy, the following contains a good
account in pages 3 - 10 of the revised edition: Lucia Child of Light:The History
and Tradition of Sweden's Lucia Celebration by Florence Ekstrand
Skandisk. It is available at http://www.swedishshop.com/ for $8.95 pb. The remainder
of the book tells of the traditions that have grown up in Sweden around the
feast of St. Lucy.