Saints and Scholars Newsletter December 16, 2022

Words from Our Principal

Dear Families and Friends of Lumen,

I hope you all had a beautiful Gaudete Sunday!

This past week we celebrated two beautiful feast days: Our Lady of Guadalupe (12/12) and St. Lucy’s Day (12/13)! In honor of those feasts, I’d like to share with you a few hymns and videos:

Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12)

The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is well-known and lovely: in the middle of the 16th century, Our Lady appeared to an indigenous Mexican peasant named Juan Diego. Mary spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native tongue, and asked him to build a church in her honor. When the local Spanish bishop asked Juan Diego to prove the legitimacy of his visions, Our Lady instructed him to gather roses from the mountain at Tepeyac – a spot where flowers did not normally grow (and indeed the flowers he found there – Castilian roses – should not even have been able to grow there at all!). Juan gathered up the flowers in his tilma, or robe, and brought them to Our Lady, who arranged them on his robe and asked him to bring them to the bishop. When Juan opened his tilma for the bishop, the flowers fell out – and a miraculous image of Our Lady appeared. The image is rich with cross-cultural significance, depicting Mary as la morenita (“the little brown one”) with indigenous features and symbolism from both Spanish and Aztec cultures.

Here are some of my favorite songs celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe!

  • “La Guadalupana”: This reverent yet energetic song celebrating La Guadalupana reminds us of how, “from the sky one beautiful morning, the Guadalupana went down to Tepeyac. Her arrival filled all the Nahuatl with joy, ligh, harmony, and freedom. Juan Diego passed through the mountain, and the Virgin told him: This hill I choose to make my altar. And they were Mexican!”
  • “Mananitas la Guadalupana”: This song greets Mary as the “white dove,” the “mother of the Creator,” and salutes her beauty and her sweet name, thanking her for her love and asking for her blessings from a humble heart.
  • “Virgen India”: This song greets Mary as the “little brown Virgin,” the “miraculous Virgin,” and the singers dedicate themselves to Mary as “slaves of her divine goodness and infinite love.”

St. Lucy’s Day (December 13)

St. Lucy is celebrated along with four other virgin martyrs whose feasts are celebrated during the cold winter months of the Christmas season (St. Cecilia on November 22, St. Agnes on January 21, and St. Agatha on February 3). The tradition of a girl wearing a crown of candles comes from the story of how St. Lucy carried her candles on her head to free up her hands and light the way while she carried food to the poor by night. Lucy’s name also means “light,” and the symbolism of the light of faith illuminating the dark of winter is richly beautiful this time of year.

Lucy’s martyrdom included her torture by having her eyes torn out – in one story, by a rejected suitor who declared that if she did not have eyes for him she would have eyes for no one else – but miraculously her sight was restored, and her eyes remained fixed on God. Thus, Lucy became patron saint of the blind.

In this video depicting the traditional ceremony celebrating St. Lucy’s Day in Sweden, the lovely opening hymn, “Sankta Lucia,” can be translated:

Night comes with heavy steps through our land, calling.
Sunlight, the earth forgets; shadows are falling.
However dark the night, rising with candles bright,
Santa Lucia!  Santa Lucia!

Though long may be the night, hope, she is bringing,
Hear now, the maid in white, silently winging,
Hushed wonder in the air, Lights glowing in her hair,
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

The darkness soon shall flee valleys in shadow,
Sunlight I can foresee, over over the meadows,
The sun will come again!  Rise in the sky to reign!”
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Some wonderful ideas for celebrating this feast can be found here.

In the midst of this season of preparation and waiting, we hope that these two feasts bring your days warmth and joy. May we, like Juan Diego, contemplate Mary’s motherhood of us all – and may we, like St. Lucy, keep our eyes fixed on Christ and bring His light to all we meet.

Pax et bonum,
Karen Celano

“A God who became so small could only be mercy and love.”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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