Women Saints of Sicily
Sicily is an enchanting land filled with ancient monuments of their history, including amphitheaters’ in Siracusa which tells the story of a civilization of centuries past, and the Greek temples scattered throughout the country, especially in Agrigento, which highlights the landscape of the country.
However, for our purposes and most important to our Faith belief, we want to share with you two special Saints of Sicily; Saints Rosalia, or Saint Rosalie, and Santa Lucia, or as we know her so well, Saint Lucy of Siracusa. Both of these women were powerful intercessors for the people of Sicily for centuries, and have had and continue to have a great influence on the spirituality of the Country.
We begin in Palermo and one of the most famous shrines in the heart of the country, Santa Rosalia. Her remains are held with great respect in the Cathedral of Palermo. She is the patron Saint of Palermo. But her story begins high up on a mountaintop to get to where it all happened. When we drive up this curvy road, it’s hard to imagine our little heroine climbing up this steep, ragged path, impassible at times. She chose a cave in what appears to be the center of an amphitheater with a border of ragged rocks. She was truly a rose and lily among the thorns that greeted her and protected her for the few years that she lasted up there. Only the sound of sweet, chirping birds and the symphony and the seas splashing waves against the rocks below melodiously lulled her to sleep when evening pulled down her shade to reveal a panorama of stars, her Lord showering her with His majestic Creation.
Our story of Santa Rosalia begins on the top of this mountain, Monte Pellegrino, about 30 feet south of Heaven. This is where the bones of our Saint were found. A hunter in this area had a vision of Santa Rosalia in which she told him her life story, and asked him to have her bones brought down to the city to the Cathedral where she could heal them of the plague which was rampant in Palermo at that time. We also have a miracle through the intercession of Santa Rosalia in our own family. Penny writes,
"When my father was a baby, just a little infant, he was dying. In their home in the city, the family were gathered together, already mourning the baby who was about to die. It was the Feast Day of Santa Rosalia. The procession was passing by the home where the baby lay dying. All of a sudden the procession stopped. The music continued ‘Oompah pa. Oompah pa’. And all of a sudden they heard the baby singing, ‘Oompah pa – Oompah pa’ The statue of Santa Rosalia was right there. The baby was healed. And so the family attributed this miraculous healing to the intercession of Santa Rosalia, and we have always had a devotion to her."
In thanksgiving, they named Penny’s father, Rosario, in honor of Santa Rosalia.
Saints of Sicily - Saint Rosalia
Now to get to her story. She was of a Norman family in the 12th century. The Normans came to Sicily and routed the Muslims after 200 years of Muslim domination here. She was the daughter of one of these families, and just found no joy in living the life of the Norman court and so she climbed up and so she came up on a mountain, first San Stefano Quisqina, near Agrigento, and finally, to this mountain, Mont Pellegrino and lived the rest of her life as a hermit praying to God with only a rosary and a Bible. She died here after living the life of a hermit and nobody ever heard anything about her, although churches have been named after her as early as 1272. It wasn’t until the 17th century when the great plague hit the area that she appeared to this hunter and also his sick sister in town, and told them that she would heal the city if they would bring her bones into city in procession.
Saints of Sicily - Saint Lucy
Our story of St. Lucy begins in 1980 in Venice. It was November. We were here with our grandson. He always wanted to go on the gondolas, but it was too expensive. However, in November, there are not many people riding on the gondolas, so we got a good deal on the price, and he was able to have his dream fulfilled. It was after that we went to the Church of St. Lucy, and visited her shrine there. The church was fairly empty that Saturday, as the season had died down. We were talking with the man at the souvenir booth when Penny saw these two tall men, different in appearance from the Italians. They looked Germanic. They were very curious about the sarcophagus of the Saint. She rests in a glass and gold case, and he body is incorrupt. She is certainly a marvel to behold but these two never seemed to stop scrutinizing her.
Finally they left and I kind of chastised my darling for being too suspicious. Well, you know she’s never wrong. The very next day as we were going to Mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, there were big headlines that the body of the Saint was stolen. We were sure it was the Germans, but it turned out to be the people from Siracusa, taking their Saint back from the Venetians who had stolen it sometime before. Eventually, her body was returned to Venice where she is revered to this day.
Now for the story of Saint Lucy as the world knows it. Lucy is one of the early martyrs of the Church. She is part of the Roman Martyrology as is St. Agatha of Catania. Lucy had a very great devotion to St. Agatha. Once she had a vision of St. Agatha, in which she was told that she, Lucy, would be known as the Saint of Siracusa. St. Lucy and her mother, who was very sick, went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Agatha. Her mother was healed of her illness through the intercession of St. Agatha.
Our two Saints of Sicily, St. Lucy and St. Agatha were virgin martyrs. Now these virgin martyrs are very important today because we’re living in a time where the evil one makes fun of chastity, and those who choose to be chaste. Well, these women, Agatha, Lucy, Cecilia, and many others gave their lives rather than give up their chastity, which they had given to the Lord. They had given themselves to the Lord, and would not let anything stop them. They refused to marry, to have young men court them.
Here’s where we run into a problem. St. Lucy’s father died when she was very young. Her mother, in order to protect her, promised her in marriage to a prominent bachelor.
Excerpts from our Minibook see details on the left:
Saints of Sicily #D194
Saint Rosalia and Saint Lucy
Come with Bob and Penny to Sicily, to share in the lives of two powerful Saints of Sicily, Santa Rosalia, patron Saint of Palermo, and the famed Santa Lucia, patron Saint of eyes and Breasts, and also Patron Saint of Siracusa Sicily.
Go with Bob and Penny to the top of Monte Pellegrino, where Saint Rosalia lived her final days, and where she appeared to a hunter and saved the city of Palermo from the Plague.
Come to Venice and Siracusa, where the story of the life of Saint Lucy unfolds.
Listen to Bob and Penny's eyewitness testimony about the day the body of Saint Lucy was stolen from the Church in Venice, and then returned.
The life of both Saints is fascinating. See the celebrations which take place each year in honor of the Saints.
Available as minibook or dvd
To order the Minibook click the Icon below $4.95
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Saint Agatha Patron of Catania
Journey with Bob and Penny Lord as they go to Sicily and explore the life story of this early Church Martyr.
Saint Agatha is the Patron Saint of Catania.
She had protected the city from earthquakes and especially volcanos since the 4th century.
Visit the Churches in her honor,
Scenes of the volcanos at Mt. Etna and the annual festival of Sant' Agata held in Catania.
To order DVD for $19.95 - 30 Minutes
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Journey with Bob and Penny to
Siracusa, Sicily and the remarkable
View the Miraculous plaster plaque
which was given as a
See actual footage of the statue weeping during August 1953.
See the Reliquary which contains the Tears of Mary.
See the crowds who gathered around the house during the Miraculous event.
See the scientific investigation held during this period.
magnificent Shrine built in honor of the Miracle.
Get all three dvds on Sicily
for $45.00: Retail Value $60.00
1. Santa Rosalia and Santa Lucia
2. Saint Agatha
3. Our Lady of Tears
Journeys of Faith®