St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

December 13

Blessed John Marinoni (AC)
Born in Venice, Italy, in 1490; died in Naples in 1562; cultus approved in 1762. Blessed John was a canon of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, who joined Saint Cajetan, the founder of the Theatines. He was a ubiquitous preacher, but the crucified Christ was the exclusive theme of his sermons. He refused the archbishopric of Naples, the city in which he died (Benedictines).

Lucy of Syracuse VM (RM)
Died 304. The Swedish have a sweet tradition that they have handed down to us. In Sweden, December 13 is one of the shortest days of the year and so the Swedes celebrate a festival of light (which is appropriate because the root for 'Lucy' in Latin means 'light'). On this day the youngest daughter in celebrating households, dressed in white, wearing a crown of lit candles, wakes the rest of the family with coffee, rolls, and a special song.

The acta of St. Lucy are unreliable, but charming. Lucy was indeed a real martyr, as attested by an early inscription to her discovered in the cemetery of St. John in Syracuse. Thus, she still has the honor of being named in the Canon of the Mass.

According to the legends, she was born in Syracuse, Sicily, the daughter of noble and wealthy parents, and was raised a Christian. Her father died while she was a child. She made a secret vow of virginity, but her mother pressed her to marry a pagan. Her mother suffered from a hemorrhage, and Lucy convinced her to pray at the tomb of Saint Agatha. When her mother was cured, and Lucy told her of her desire to give her fortune to the poor and devote her life to God.

The man Lucy was to have married became angry, and he denounced her as a Christian to the governor during the persecutions of Diocletian. Lucy remained loyal to her faith, and the judge ordered that she be made a prostitute in a brothel. Miraculously, however, the guards found themselves physically unable to carry her there. They attempted to burn her but the flames made no impression on her. Finally, she was killed with a sword thrust into her throat.

Other legends hold that she tore out her own eyes to discourage a suitor who admired them, or that they were gouged out by the judge; her eyes were then miraculously restored to her, even more beautiful then before. She was one of the most illustrious virgin martyrs honored in Rome during the 6th century. St. Lucy's relics are preserved in Venice, and a partially incorrupt body is alleged to be hers (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, White).

St. Lucy is represented as a maiden with her eyes in a dish, on a book, or in a shell. Sometimes she is shown (1) holding a burning lamp; (2) with a lamp and a sword; (3) with a flaming horn; (4) with oxen and men trying to drag her; or (5) with a gash in her neck or sword imbedded in it (This is told of several virgin martyrs, including Cecilia, with whom she is often confused.)

She was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages and, thus, is patronesses of a wide variety including: cutlers, glaziers, notaries, peddlers, saddlers, servant girls, scribes, tailors, and weavers. She is invoked against blindness, eye diseases, fire, infection, hemorrhage, and sore throat (Roeder, White). She may have become protectress against diseases of the eyes because her name suggests light.

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.