Lucy, Saint of Light By Amy Velho Illustrated by

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A long time ago in Italy there was a young girl named Lucy. She loved Jesus very much. In those times, however, the people who ruled Italy did not like Christians. In fact they hated people who loved Jesus. The rulers of Rome were chasing down people who loved God and were doing terrible things to them. Many Christians were very afraid.

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Lucy was the very lovely daughter of a wealthy family. She was also a Christian. In Lucy’s town of Syracuse, many Christians were forced to hide under the streets in a place called the catacombs. Lucy would bring food to these scared people, wearing a crown with candles a top her head to light her way.

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One day however, her parents told her she was to marry. Lucy had vowed, or promised, to dedicate her life to Jesus and asked her parents if the money for her wedding could go to the poor of Syracuse instead. To convince her parents Lucy spent many an hour at the tomb of Saint Agatha praying for a cure to her mother’s illness. God heard her prayers and her mother was miraculously cured.

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The man that Lucy was supposed to marry was not happy when he was told that she was not marry him. He had heard rumors that she was a follower of Christ. So he turned her in to the authorities for being a Christian. The people who ruled Syracuse did horrible things to Lucy, trying to get her to deny God and her faith. She refused despite all the terrible things they did to her. Her love of Jesus saw her through the ordeal and she offered up all her sufferings for others.

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Lucy died in the 4th century, giving her life for her love of Jesus. She had made a vow to love Christ with all her mind, heart, and soul. She never broke this promise and now this saint of light is in heaven with God, offering up prayers for us, so that we may know, love, and serve God as she did.

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Note: There are many legends about this incredible saint who lived so long ago. In this story we only see a few of these incredible stories about Saint Lucy. Her Feast Day is December 13th and is a very popular feast day in the Scandinavian countries. It is tradition for the oldest daughter to serves coffee and special rolls to her family wearing a crown of leaves and candles. Here is a recipe my family loves, resembling the crown of Saint Lucy. Saint Lucia's Braided Bread Source: Family Fun INGREDIENTS Dough:

1 1/2 cups milk 2 1/4-ounce packages active dry yeast 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces 2 large eggs 1/4 cup orange juice 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind 1 teaspoon salt 5 1/2 o 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour Glaze and Garnish: 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons orange juice 1/3 cup dried cranberries Candles (optional) DIRECTIONS Warm the milk in a small saucepan, then pour 1/2 cup of it into a large bowl. Add the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let it set for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the remaining milk. Add the butter and milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk in the eggs, juice, 1/4 cup of sugar, orange rind, and salt. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can be gathered into a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, adding more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to your hands. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat it. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a 30-inch rope and braid the ropes together. Transfer the braid to a greased baking sheet, pinch together the ends to form a circle, and let it rise until it has again doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Heat the oven to 375°. Bake the bread for 25 minutes or until golden brown, then let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. For the glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice in a medium bowl until smooth. Drizzle the glaze mix over the bread, then garnish with the cranberries. Finally, add candles, if you'd like. Serves 12.

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