The mother became ill with a constant hemorrhage and made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha to pray for healing. While at the tomb, the mother was healed. Saint Agatha appeared to Lucy in a dream and told her that she would be martyred for Christ's sake. Lucy then told her mother of her vow and how she had prayed for some way to change her mother's mind. Grateful for healing, the mother allowed Lucy to follow her vow.
Angered by the change in plans, the rich young suitor denounced Lucy to the governor of the region as a Christian. When she was found guilty, a judge ordered that Lucy be sold into slavery. Soldiers came to take her away, but no matter how hard they tried, Lucy stood as if rooted to the ground. The soldiers were frightened by this, a small young woman as unmovable as a mountain. They next poured oil on her head and set her on fire to try to make her move, but her body was not burned. They demanded to know why she was not harmed and she replied that the power of the Lord Jesus Christ protected her. Finally, they stabbed her in the throat with a sword and she was welcomed into Heaven by Jesus, Whom she had loved so much. Since that time many legends have grown up around her story. Some say that she was tortured and her eyes were put out before her death. Legend goes on to tell how Mary intervened and gave Lucy two new eyes, shinier than those she had lost. Her body was eventually brought to Venice where she is now resting in the church of Santa Lucia. Because her name means "light" she very early became the great patron saint for the "light of the body" - the eyes. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her Feast Day. Thus we find "Lucy candles" lighted in the homes and "Lucy fires" burned in the outdoors. Before the Reformation, Saint Lucy's Day was one of unusual celebration and festivity because for the people of Sweden and Norway, she was the great "light saint", who conquered the demon of darkness, turned the tides of their long winter and brought the light of the day to renewed victory. In Sweden, where the Swedish official religion frowns upon devotion to saints, Saint Lucy is still very important and is still retained as the protectress of the country.