Fifty years ago, Corine Nehrman, a senior from Minneapolis's
High School, was crowned St. Lucia for the Northwestern section of the
United States. Corine had all the attributes of the brave, young Saint. She
was a beautiful young lady with long natural blond hair and sparking ice
blue eyes. She also was a christian with impecable moral values. While
attending the1949 St Lucia festival in Sweden, Miss Nehrman represented the
citizens of the US with grace and dignity. We, the alumni and her
from Patrick Heny HS, will remember Corine as a student who
best in all of us during her reign.
I guess I haven't been paying attention. Why is St. Lucia so
Lucia, the festival of light
"Natten gr tunga fjt..."
Early one winter morning, a girl in a long white gown appears, with a crown
of candles on her head and a song on her lips. It's Lucia Day - Sweden's own
'festival of light'! But who was the real Lucia?
Lucia Day is 13 December - Lucia's name-day. Throughout the country you can
see candlelit processions of Lucias with their white-clad attendants, both
girls and boys. The day commemorates St Lucia of Syracuse, a Catholic saint.
Legend has it that she was a young Christian girl living in Sicily at the
height of the Roman Empire. The Romans had not yet become Christians and
condemned Lucia to death. She was executed on 13 December 304 AD, and became
Many historians are convinced Lucia actually existed, and that she was
killed for her Christian faith.
There are many stories about her. Not all of them may be true, but they are
exciting to read about.
Lucia is very brave
In one story, Lucia showed great courage. She was to marry a man who was not
a Christian. Women were supposed to bring a dowry with them when they wed -
money, livestock or expensive gifts. But Lucia gave away her dowry to poor
The man she was supposed to marry informed the Romans of this and they came
round to kill her. First they tried to drown her, but failed. Then they
tried to burn her to death, then ran her through with a sword. The blood
soaked her white gown. This is why present-day Lucias have a red ribbon
round their waists.
Another story tells how Lucia's Christian friends hid from the Romans in
underground passages. It was very dark down there, and when Lucia went down
to see them she had food in both hands. So she fastened a candle in her hair
in order to see better. This is why the Swedish Lucia has a crown of
candles. She often arrives with coffee and saffron rolls (lussekatter) as
According to a third story, Lucia was a Christian girl with wondrously
beautiful eyes. A prince fell in love with her. He was not a Christian,
though, so Lucia turned him down. To show her faith in God, she poked out
her own eyes and gave them to the prince. He immediately converted to
Christianity. Lucia was given beautiful new eyes by God. This is why Lucia
is said to be the patron saint of vision.