And such a person is Saint Lucy – the ever-popular Santa Lucia."
In those few words, Fr. John Julian, OJN, in his wonderful collection of stories of the saints, captures the popularity of St. Lucy of Sicily, Virgin and Martyr (d. c. 304) The details of Lucy's life are quite obscure and, understandably, many legends and traditions have arisen to fill the gaps. Lucy was martyred at Syracuse, Sicily, in the reign of Diocletian. One can argue the details that have been reported surrounding the event, but the important thing is that Lucy is one of the most important saints in the Church's history, and had a following in Rome in the early 500's as one of the most beloved of all the virgin martyrs. She is remembered for her purity of life and the gentleness of her spirit. Her name, Lucy or Lucia = light, occasioned her being looked upon as the patron of people with eye trouble. She's often depicted, especially in medieval art, holding her eyes on a dish. This was probably a cultic transfer of the representation of a pagan goddess, Lucina, shown with a tray holding two tiny cakes, looking very much like eyes.
After several transfers of St. Lucy's remains from the original site in Syracuse, her relics finally rest in the Church of SS. Geremia and Lucia in Venice.