Feast day: Dec. 13
The moral virtue of courage, or fortitude, enables us to stand firm in times of difficulty and to persevere in doing good. It is that virtue which allows us to resist temptations, overcome obstacles and conquer fear.
St. Lucy (283-304) shows us what this virtue looks like. Legend provides us with an account of her courage in defense of the faith. She had vowed to live a life of service committed to Christ. However, her mother had other plans and arranged for St. Lucy to marry a pagan. Although St. Lucy convinced her mother to relent – after praying for the cure of her mother’s long illness at the tomb of St. Agatha, which was miraculously granted – her problems with the bridegroom were just beginning.
According to the story, the rejected bridegroom, acting out of anger, reported that Lucy was a Christian (a crime during the Diocletian persecution) to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. The governor ordered her to sacrifice to the emperor’s image. When she refused, she was sentenced to be defiled in a brothel. When the guards came to get her, she was stiff and heavy as a mountain and could not be moved. A dagger was then plunged through her throat and she was finally killed.
St. Lucy’s life and death witness to us the importance of developing the virtue of courage. On the path to holiness, we see once again that what is impossible for humanity is only possible with God.