OK, so my fantastic Twitter friends (and amazing bloggers, seriously, you need to, right now, scoot on over, I’m telling you, and check out their blogs! Psst, they are INTELLIGENT and THOUGHTFUL. I know! It’s crazy! And they still talk to me! I think maybe I’m their super-enthusiastic, slightly touched-in-the-head sidekick. Or maybe their pet, like a really hyper bouncy-bounce-bounce Jack Russell terrier. I’m down with that) @heinakroon and @lahikmajoe informed me today it was St. Lucy’s Day. So, in other words, MY day. I mean, there’s no St. Amy’s day. Amy’s not a saint. Well, there’s a Saint Amata, also known as Saint Aimee of Assisi, but that barely counts, and also she’s only a saint because she was healed by her sister who was a saint and that’s about all that’s known about her. BORING, St. Not-Even-Really-An-Amy.
Now listen. I, as mentioned, grew up Catholic. I am not currently a practicing Catholic. I suppose, if you are very, very anal about it, I will always be a Catholic; at least, that’s what my mother tells me, usually when cajoling me to attend services with her when I come home for a visit. I was baptized Catholic, so I suppose, unless I were to do some sort of un-baptismal ritual, or maybe get re-baptized into another faith and/or cult, I’m TECHINICALLY, in NAME ONLY, still a Catholic. I haven’t been inside a church in quite some time, and I’m happy with that. Am I going to go into more detail than that with you? Nope. Why? Because it’s none of your business. I have nothing against Catholicism, Catholics, God, Jesus, etc., etc., etc., so please don’t hate-mail me up. It’s just not right for me. Personally. As a person. Who lives on this earth. I don’t care what you do. Just don’t make me do it, and don’t attempt to make me feel bad about not doing it. End of story.
However, I LOVE STORIES OF THE SAINTS.
I find the stories of the saints FASCINATING. I’m pretty sure it’s because the stories of the saints usually end with “and then they were bloodily murdered in a creative fashion” and you know I do love a good creative bloody murder.
For example, Saint Sebastian all pierced with his arrows. Saint Blaise, attacked with “iron carding combs” (what the hell? Ew. And, awesome!) Saint Agatha, who had her breasts chopped off. Oh, and St. Francis, not because of death, but because ANIMALS.
Yes, I’m totally dark, twisted, and macabre. I also like kittens, rainbows, and unicorns, people. Also, someone this weekend almost spit-took when they saw me crying over something. I’m really an enigma, right?
I actually took a day trip to Rouen when I was in Paris in college JUST TO SEE WHERE SAINT JOAN WAS BURNED TO DEATH. No, I’m not even kidding. On purpose. I made a pilgrimage to see where someone was burned to death. And it was kind of the most awesome. (Also, the townspeople in Rouen were lovely, friendly, and welcoming, and did not make fun of my rudimentary French, not even once. Also, the town looked like it was created by Epcot. It could NOT have been cuter, cleaner, or more picturesque. Except for the creepy wax museum, where everything was falling over and decrepit and looked like maybe it was going to come to life and eat me. That was unsettling. Also, one of the wax figures was wearing Hanes sweatsocks, which made me laugh so hard I almost choked on my croissant.) And, side note! There was a lovely little art museum there, and I was listening to my Walkman (shut up, it was the 90s) and looking at the art and feeling oh-so-bohemian and felt a tap on my shoulder and a guard was standing there and I took out my headphones and he started talking to me in VERY rapid French, which I could understand just about every third word of, and I asked him to slow down, and he was just asking what I was listening to. I said “Tori Amos?” and he laughed and shrugged adorably and then left me to wander around some more, and as I was leaving, said goodbye, and then KISSED MY HAND (I know, right? In any other setting, that’d be creepy? But he was this very nice middle-aged gentleman, and it was very courtly) and said something that I didn’t quite understand – soleil? Something about the sun? – but I smiled and left and then I wrote it down phonetically and when I got back on the train I looked it up and he’d told me, as far as I could tell, “I shone as bright as the sun.” Um. That might be the nicest compliment, in any language, anyone has ever given me ever. THANK YOU RANDOM ROUEN MUSEUM GUARD.
But somehow, St. Lucy escaped my notice. I know! That’s totally unlike me. Yes, I know the name of this blog isn’t based on St. Lucy. It’s based on Lucy Van Pelt from the Peanuts cartoons. (For further info on the twisted tale behind the naming of this blog, see my FAQ. Yep, I have a FAQ. You thought I wouldn’t? You really don’t trust me very far, do you? I promise I sort of kind of know what I’m doing, you guys. I also promise if you let me lead you into the woods, I will do my best not to let you get murdered by bears. Look out for the woodchucks, though, they’re totally bloodthirsty.) Anyway, so no, I wasn’t thinking of St. Lucy when I came up with the name for my blog. But I’m pretty sure, after finding out about this, it’s kind of kismet. Or destiny. Or whatever the hell. I AM IN LOVE WITH ST. LUCY IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
Look at this. LOOK AT THIS I’M TELLING YOU.
Is that not the worst? What’s that on the serving tray, you’re wondering? Oh, her eyes. THOSE ARE HER EYES. Dun dun dunnnnnnn.
So here’s the scoop. I mean, you could research this yourself, but why bother, my version will be so much more fun.
St. Lucy lived in Italy (hey, also, I love Italy, if I were given a choice of any place ever to live for the rest of my life? Italy. True! True story!) from 283-304. I know, people totally lived that long ago, it’s not even science fiction or anything. So that means she died when she was twenty-one. When I was twenty-one, I drank a lot and woke up in weird places, like on the bathroom floor or one time under someone’s bed all dust-bunny-covered.
Lucy was a rich girl with a rich mom. Rich mom arranged a marriage for her with a rich suitor. But rich suitor was…wait for it…wait for it…PAGAN ZOMGGGGG. Lucy was not down with this at all because she had chats with angels and such and was an illegal Christian. So she started giving her dowry away to the poor because she did not want to marry Pagan Pete. And listen, the main reason she didn’t want to marry Pagan Pete was not because of his paganism. It was because she didn’t want to give him her flower. No, I’m serious. Lucy’s big thing was she did NOT want to lose her virginity. It was VERY important to her. Well, that’s nice, Lucy, and I totally dig pretty much everything else you stand for, and you’re a totally righteous babe, but probably get over the whole flower issue. Give away your whole bouquet, honey. It’s not just for HIM, you know. YOU can ALSO derive pleasure from passing along the blooms. Just thought I’d toss that out there. ANYWAY. Pagan Pete got wind of this and was NOT AMUSED. “That’s MY MONEY BIATCH,” Pagan Pete hissed. “Also, give up your flower. Damn, girl.” Apparently, it was illegal to be Christian in Italy at this time (sorry, I’d research that more but at work, any website with too much religious content is BANNED and we get a BIG RED PAGE that says BANNED BANNED BANNED due to RELIGION!!! and wouldn’t it be so ironic were I to get fired due to Catholicism searches, based on my own waffley stance on the Catholic church?) So Pagan Pete went to the magistrate and was all, “Lucy’s a secret Christian, yo.”
Get this! Lucy’s sentence was that she was to be DEFILED IN THE LOCAL BROTHEL. Is that not the most horrible, nefarious thing you’ve ever HEARD? This is so a telenovela. That magistrate totally twirled his moustache when he was sentencing her to that, you know he did.
Lucy, while this was going down, decided to start being all street-preachy. She had a LOT TO SAY. So she started talking. And she wouldn’t stop. God and purity and almsgiving and what have you. Stubborn and loud. My kind of chica.
So the guards came to take her away, but she was so filled with the Holy Spirit (SIDE NOTE: when I taught churchschool many moons ago one of my students was PETRIFIED by the Holy Spirit because sometimes you call the Holy Spirit the Holy Ghost and the poor kiddo was convinced the Holy Ghost was like a creepy haunty-type ghost and was going to pop out of her closet when she was trying to sleep so when I had to talk about the one God/three persons thing, she would get SO SCARED and she’d jump up and put her hand over my mouth and say “No no no ghosts” and it was ADORABLE. Poor scared kiddo, I wanted to hug her and give her a cookie) that the guards could not move her. She was “immovable as a mountain.” Well, that’s exciting! Like a MOUNTAIN! Even a team of OXEN could not move her. All while they kept tugging and shoving and oxen-ing, she kept proselytizing about God and virginity and almsgiving. She was TALKY, you guys. I LOVE HER. Then they stabbed her in the neck, and – get this, are you ready? – SHE KEPT TALKING. Stabbed in the NECK and she kept talking.
Then they gouged her eyes out with a fork. Hence the painting above and her being the patron saint of blindness. I’m pretty blind without my glasses, Lucy! Thanks for keeping an eye out! Pun most definitely intended!
On St. Lucy’s Day in Sicily (today!), they celebrate with candles (as it’s commonly thought of as the shortest, and therefore darkest, day of the year) and a traditional dessert of “wheat in a bowl of hot chocolate milk.” That sounds DELICIOUS. Is it like hot cereal in chocolate milk? THAT IS GENIUS ITALY. Do you see why I want to live in Italy? Well, other than Italians, and the gorgeousness of it all? Those people KNOW THEIR DELICIOUS FOODSTUFFS.
In Scandinavian countries on St. Lucy’s Day, young girls wear a crown of candles in church. Well, that I’m not as down with, mostly because HAIR IS TOTALLY FLAMMABLE YOU GUYS. That is a stop, drop and roll waiting to happen. Those poor adorable Scandinavian children. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
So, to recap. St. Lucy was Italian (love it), mouthy (love it), would not be moved (love it), patron saint of people with eye issues (love it), died bloodily (love it), and was obsessed with keeping her virginity (um…sorry, Lucy. You lost me there.)
THIS IS MY DAY, PEOPLE!
So, in honor of St. Lucy’s Day, I’m going to be mouthy and obstinate, and also eat some chocolate and wear my glasses. Oh. Wait. Looking back, I pretty much live every day as if it’s St. Lucy’s Day. Go, me.
Except for the weird virginity fetish, of course.