Artwork by Marybeth Bradbury
Bringer of Light; Spiritual Insight
Born c. 283, Syracuse, Sicily. Her father died when she was young, and her mother betrothed her to Paschasius, a pagan. Lucy stalled the marriage for three years, praying unceasingly for God to heal her mother’s hemorrhaging illness. When her illness was healed, Lucy’s mother honored her desire to follow Jesus, allowing her to denounce the marriage. Paschasius reported Lucy’s Christianity to the Sicilian governor, who sentenced her to prostitution. Guards sent to arrest her could not move her, even after hitching her to a team of oxen. Her eyes were gouged out and she was placed in the middle of wood bundles, which would not stay lighted. She was finally stabbed to death with a dagger. Lucy is said to have prophesied to her persecutors and legend says her eyesight was restored before she died.
Patron Saint against spiritual and physical blindness, eye diseases, fire, blood disorders, throat ailments; Patron Saint of martyrs, eye professionals, writers, seamstresses, glass makers.
St. Lucy gives us the gift of seeing light both within and without ourselves
Singer of Praise, Musician of Joy
Died c. 177 Rome. Born into a wealthy Christian family, St. Cecilia vowed her virginity to God. She was married against her will to the future Saint Valerian, then a pagan. According to tradition, she “sang in her heart to the Lord” as musicians played at her wedding. She told her husband an angel would smite him if he tried to have sex with her. He promised to respect her commitment if he were allowed to see the angel. She replied that he would if he were baptized. After his baptism he saw Cecilia talking to the angel. She then converted his brother Tiburtius, who also saw the angel. After both men were executed for converting pagans to Christianity and burying the Christian dead, Cecilia carried on their work. Legend says she converted hundreds. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. She continued to convert many as she lay on her deathbed for three days, after having been struck by a sword three times. She laid with three fingers on her right hand extended, and one on her left, her final profession of faith in the Holy Trinity/one God. Her uncorrupted remains were placed in the Catacomb of St. Callistus. Later her remains were moved to a basilica in Trastevere that now bears her name.
Patron Saint of music and musicians, composers, instrument makers, and poets.
St. Cecilia gives us the gift of singing the song of our hearts.
St. Denis of Paris
Walking in truth; steadfast commitment
Born Rome?; died Paris c. 258? St. Denis was sent to Gaul (France) to convert pagans, and became Bishop of Paris. He was martyred for his efforts by Roman Emperor Decius in Paris, who had him imprisoned and then beheaded on the highest hill in Paris, Montmartre. St. Denis is said to have picked up his head, and carried it in his arms for several miles, preaching a sermon along the way until he died. The site where he stopped preaching and actually died was marked by a small shrine that developed into the Basilica of Saint-Denis, which became the burial place for the kings of France. Another account has his corpse being thrown into the Seine, but recovered and buried later that night by his converts.
Patron Saint of France, possessed people; Patron Saint against headaches, strife, hydrophobia, frenzy and rabies.
St. Denis gives us the gift of level-headedness in the face of adversity.
St. Catherine of Alexandria
Spinning the wheel of our own fate
Born a princess in Alexandria, St. Catherine was a scholar and converted to Christianity by age 14. She died at age 18 in 305 CE in her home city. When she rebuked Emperor Maxentius for his persecution of Christians, he demanded she debate his best pagan philosophers and orators, a debate she easily won. Philosophers whom she swayed to Christianity were put to death. Catherine was imprisoned and tortured so badly that her whole body was covered in wounds, which were tended to by angels. A dove fed her daily, and Jesus visited her, promising a crown of glory. When torture did not stop Catherine from professing her faith, Maxentius proposed marriage, which she refused, saying her spouse was Jesus. Furious, he condemned her to die on a spiked breaking wheel, which shattered when she touched it. He ordered her beheaded, and she demanded to be executed immediately. A milk-like substance rather than blood flowed from her neck when she died. One of the most important of the virgin martyrs, she entreats Christ to answer prayers of those who remember her martyrdom and invoke her name.. The pyrotechnic Catherine wheel, which rotates with sparks flying off in all directions, is named after her wheel of martyrdom.
Patron Saint of lawyers, orators, learning, educators, librarians, teachers, scholars, theologians, maidens, the dying, wheelwrights and artists who work on wheels, knife grinders.
St. Catherine gives us the gift speaking our truth and choosing our destiny.