Saints Euphemia and Lucy

Here followeth the Life of S. Eufemia

Eufemia was daughter of a senator, and saw christian men in the time of Diocletian so sore tormented and all to-rent by divers torments, that she came to the judge and confessed her to be christian. And she comforted by example the courages of other men, and by her constancy. And when the judge slew the christian men, the one tofore another, and made others to be present because they should be afeard of that they saw the others so cruelly tormented and broken, and that they should sacrifice for dread and fear, and when Eufemia saw even thus tofore her the holy saints, she was the more constant by the steadfastness of the martyrs, and spoke to the judge, and said that she suffered wrong of him. Then the judge was glad, weening that she would have consented to do sacrifice, and when he demanded of her what wrong he had done to her, she said to him: For sith I am of noble lineage, why puttest thou tofore me the strangers and unknown, and makest them go to Christ tofore me? For it were my pleasure to go thither by martyrdom tofore them. And the judge said to her: I had supposed thou wouldst have returned in thy thought, and I was glad that thou haddest remembered thy noblesse. And then she was inclosed in the prison, and the day following, without bonds, was brought tofore the judge. And then she complained right grievously why against the laws of the emperors she was alone spared for to be out of bonds. And then she was long beaten with fists, and after, sent again to prison, and the judge followed her, and would have taken her by force for to have accomplished his foul lust, but she defended her forcibly, and the virtue divine made the hands of the Judge to be lame. And then the judge weened to have been enchanted, and sent to her the provost of his house for to promise to her many things for to make her consent to him, but he might never open the prison which was shut, neither with key ne with axes, till he was ravished with a devil, crying and treating himself, that unnethe he escaped. And then she was drawn out and set upon a wheel full of burning coals. And the artillour, that was master of the torment, had given a token to them to turn it, that when he should make a sound, that they all should turn it, and the fire should spring out and all to-break and rend the body of the virgin; but by the ordinance of God the iron that the artillour and master had in his hand, fell to the earth, and made the sound. And they turned hastily so that the wheel burnt the master of the work and kept Enfemia without hurt, sitting upon the wheel. And the parents of the artillour wept and put the fire under the wheel and would have burnt Eufemia with the wheel, but the wheel was burnt, and Eufemia was unbounden by the angel of God, and was seen to stand all whole, unhurt, in a high place. And then Apulius said to the judge: The virtue of christian people may not be overcome but by iron, therefore I counsel thee to do smite off her head. Then they set up ladders, and as one would have set hand on her, he was anon smitten with a palsy, and was borne thence half dead. And another named Sosthenes went up on high, but anon he was changed in his courage and repented him and required her humbly pardon, and when he had his sword drawn he cried to the judge that he had liefer slay himself than touch her whom the angels defended. At the last, when she was taken thence, the judge said to his chancellor that he should send to her all the young men that were jolly, for to enforce and to make her do their will till she should fail and die. And then he entered in and saw with her many fair virgins praying with her, and she made him to be christened with her admonishments. And then the provost did do take the virgin by the hair and hung her thereby, and she ever abode constant and immovable. And then he did do shut her in prison without meat seven days, and pressed her there between four great stones as who should press olives, but she was every day fed with an angel. And when she was between those two hard stones she made her prayers, and the stones were converted into right soft ashes. Then the provost was ashamed for to be vanquished of a maid; and then he made her to be thrown into a pit whereas cruel beasts were, which devoured every man that came therein and swallowed them in. And anon they ran to this holy virgin in fawning her, and joined their tails together, and made of them a chair for her to sit on. And when the judge saw that, he was much confounded, so that almost he died for anguish and sorrow. Then the butcher came for to avenge the injury of his lord and smote his sword into her side, and all to-hewed her and made her there the martyr of Jesu Christ our Lord. And the judge clad him with clothes of silk, and hung on him ouches and brooches of gold, but when he should have issued out of the pit, he was ravished of the beasts, and all devoured anon. And then his people sought him long, and unnethe found they a little of his bones with his clothes of silk and his ouches of gold. And then the judge ate himself for madness, and so was found dead wretchedly. And Eusemia was buried in Chalcedonia, and by her merits all the Jews and paynims of Chalcedonia believed in Jesu Christ. And she suffered death about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty. And S. Ambrose saith of this virgin thus: The holy virgin, triumphant in virginity, retaining the mitre, deserved to be clad with the crown, by whose merits the wicked enemy is vanquished, and Priscus, her adversary and judge, is overcome. The virgin is saved from the furnace of fire, hard stones be converted into powder, wild beasts be made meek and tame, and incline down their necks, and all manner of pains and torments by her orations and prayers be overcome. And at the last, smitten with a sword, she left the cloister of her flesh, and is joined to the celestial company, glad and joyous. And, blessed Lord, this blessed virgin commendeth to thee thy church, and, good Lord, let her pray to thee for us sinners, and this virgin, without corruption flourishing, get unto us that our desires may be granted of thee.

Here followeth the Life of the Blessed Virgin Lucy

S. Lucy, the holy virgin, was born in Sicily, and extract and engendered of a noble lineage, in the city of Syracuse. When she heard of the good fame and renown of S. Agatha or Agaas, which was published and spread all about, anon she went to her sepulchre with her mother which was named Euthicia, which had a malady, named the bloody flux, by the space of four years, the which no master in physic ne surgery could heal. And when they were at a mass, one read a gospel which made mention of a woman which was healed of the bloody flux by touching of the hem of the coat of Jesu Christ. When S. Lucy heard this, anon she said to her mother: Mother, if ye believe that this which is read be true, and also that S. Agatha hath now presently with her Jesu Christ, and also that for his name she suffered martyrdom, and if ye, with this belief, touch her sepulchre, without doubt ye shall be anon guerished and healed. Upon this they, after the mass, when the people were departed, they twain fell down on their knees on the sepulchre of S. Agatha in prayers, and weeping began to pray for her help and aid. S. Lucy in making her prayers for her mother fell asleep, and she saw in her sleep S. Agatha among the angels, nobly adorned and arrayed with precious stones, which said thus to her: Lucy, my sweet sister, devout virgin to God, wherefore prayest thou to me for thy mother, for such thing as thou mayest thyself right soon give to her? For I tell the for truth, that for thy faith, and thy good, thy mother is safe and whole. With these words S. Lucy awoke all afraid, and said to her mother: Mother, ye be guerished and all whole; I pray you for her sake by whose prayers ye be healed, that ye never make mention to me for to take an husband ne spouse, but all that good that ye would give me with a man, I pray you that ye will give it to me for to do alms withal that I may come to my saviour Jesu Christ. Her mother answered to her: Fair daughter, thy patrimony, which I have received this nine years, sith thy father died, I have nothing aminished, but I have multiplied and increased it; but abide till I am departed out of this world, and then forthon do as it shall please thee. S. Lucy said: Sweet mother, hear my counsel: he is not beloved of God, that for his love giveth that which he may not use himself, but if thou wilt find God debonair to thee, give for him that which thou mayest dispend, for after thy death thou mayest in no wise use thy goods. That which thou givest when thou shalt die, thou givest it because thou mayest not bear it with thee. Give then for God's sake whiles thou livest: and as to such good as thou oughtest to give to me with an husband or spouse, begin to give all that to your people for the love of Jesu Christ. Hereof spake alway Lucy to her mother, and every day they gave alms of their goods. And when they had almost sold their patrimony and their jewels, tidings came to the knowledge of her spouse that should have wedded her, and that she was promised to, the which he demanded hereof the truth of the nurse of S. Lucy, and wherefore they sold thus their patrimony. She answered cautelously, and said that they did it because that S. Lucy, which should have been his wife, had found one which had a more fairer and nobler heritage than his was, the which they would buy tofore ere they should assemble by marriage. The fool believed it, for he understood carnally this that the nurse had said to him spiritually, and helped them to sell their heritage. But when he understood that she gave all for God's love, and that he felt himself deceived, anon he complained on Lucy, and made her to come tofore a judge named Paschasius, which was a miscreant and heathen man. And it was because she was christian, and that she did against the law of the Emperor, Paschasius blamed her, and admonested her to worship and do sacrifice to the idols. She said: Sacrifice which pleaseth God is to visit the widows and orphans, and to help them in their need: I have not ceased these three years past to make to God such sacrifice, and forasmuch as I have no more of which I may make yet such sacrifice, I offer to him myself, let him do with his offering as it pleaseth him. Paschasius said: Thou mightest say these words unto christian people, semblable to thee, but to me which keep the commandments of the emperors, thou sayest them in vain. S. Lucy said: If thou wilt keep the law of thy lords, I shall keep the law of God; thou doubtest to anger them, and I shall keep me that I anger not my God; thou wilt please them, and I covet only to please our Lord Jesu Christ. Paschasius said: Thou hast dispended thy patrimony with the ribalds, and therefore thou speakest as a ribald. She said. I have set my patrimony in a sure place; unto the corruption of my heart ne body, I never agreed ne suffered it. Paschasius said: Who be they that corrupt the heart and the body? She said: Ye be that corrupt the hearts, of whom the apostle said: The evil words corrupt the good manners. Ye counsel the souls to forsake their creator and to ensue the devil in making sacrifice to the idols; the corrupters of the body be they that love the short delectations corporal, and despite delights spiritual that endure for ever. Paschasius said: These words that thou sayest shall finish when thou shalt come to thy pains. She said: The words of God may not end ne finish. Paschasius said: How then! art thou God? She said: I am the handmaid of God, and for so much as I say, they be the words of God, for he saith: Ye be not they that speak tofore the princes and judges, but the Holy Ghost speaketh in you. Paschasius said: And therefore the Holy Ghost is in thee? She said: The apostle saith that they be the temple of God that live chastely, and the Holy Ghost dwelleth in them. Paschasius said: I shall do bring thee to the bordel, where thou shalt lose thy chastity, and then the Holy Ghost shall depart from thee. She said: The body may take no corruption but if the heart and will give thereto assenting: for if thou madest me to do sacrifice by my hands, by force, to the idols, against my will, God shall take it only but as a derision, for he judgeth only of the will and consenting. And therefore, if thou make my body to be defouled without mine assent, and against my will, my chastity shall increase double to the merit of the crown of glory. What thing that thou dost to the body, which is in thy power, that beareth no prejudice to the handmaid of Jesu Christ. Then commanded Paschasius that the ribalds of the town should come, to whom he delivered S. Lucy, saying: Call other to you for to defoul her, and labour her so much till she be dead. Anon the ribalds would have drawn her from thence where she was, and have brought her to the bordel, but the Holy Ghost made her so pesant and heavy that in no wise might they move her from the place. Wherefore many of the servants of the judge put hand to, for to draw with the other, and she abode still. Then they bound cords to her hands and feet, and all drew, but she abode alway still as a mountain, without moving. Whereof Paschasius was all anguishous and angry, and did do call his enchanters, which might never move her for all enchantery. Then Paschasius did do yoke for her oxen many, for to draw her, and yet they might not move her from the place. Then Paschasius demanded her for what reason might it be that a frail maid might not be drawn ne moved by a thousand men. She said: It is the work of God, and if thou settest thereto yet ten thousand they should not move me. Of these words the judge was sore tormented And S. Lucy said to him: Wherefore tormentest thou thyself thus? If thou hast proved and assayed that I am the temple of God, believe it. If thou hast not assayed, learn to assay. And hereof was the judge more tormented, for he saw that she made but her mockery with him. Wherefore he did do make about S. Lucy a right great fire, and made to be cast on her pitch, resin, and boiling oil, and she abode all still tofore the fire, and said: I have prayed to Jesu Christ that this fire have no domination in me to the end that the christian men that believe in God make of thee their derision. And I have prayed for respite of my martyrdom for to take away from the christian men the fear and dread to die for the faith of Jesu Christ, and to take away from the miscreants the avaunting of my martyrdom. The friends of the judge saw that he was confused by the words of S. Lucy, and of the drawing much greatly tormented, and therefore they roof a sword through her throat, and yet for all that she died not anon, but spake to the people, saying: I announce and show to you that holy church shall have peace, for Diocletian the emperor, which was enemy to holy church is this day put out of his seignory, and Maximian, his fellow, is this day dead. And in likewise as S. Agatha is patroness and keeper of Catania, in the same wise shall I be committed to be patroness of Syracuse, this city. And as she spake thus to the people, the sergeants and ministers of Rome came for to take Paschasius and bring him to Rome, because he was accused tofore the senators of Rome of that he had robbed the province; wherefore he received his sentence of the senate, and had his head smitten off. S. Lucy never removed from the place where she was hurt with the sword, ne died not till the priest came and brought the blessed body of our Lord Jesu Christ. And as soon as she had received the blessed sacrament she rendered and gave up her soul to God, thanking and praising him of all his goodness.

Text taken from Medieval Sourcebook: The Golden Legend (Aurea Legenda) - Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, 1275 - Englished by William Caxton, 1483.