O'Hara School photo
Madeline Mahalak and Laura Kokkeler dress as Santa Lucia.
O'Hara School photo
Madeline Mahalak and Laura Kokkeler dress as Santa Lucia.
EUGENE — The Feast of St. Lucy (Santa Lucia) is observed on Dec. 13 and celebrated in Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Finland, Malta, Italy, Bosnia, Iceland, Bavaria and Croatia. It is also celebrated in parts of the U.S., particularly those with Scandinavian roots.

St. Lucy was born in Sicily about 250 AD. As a young girl, she chose to dedicate her life to Jesus. In stories from history, she is said to have worn a wreath of candles on her head to light her way, carrying food and supplies to the Christians in hiding in the underground catacombs. At this time, it was against the law to be a Christian and Lucy was killed for her faith.

For more than 14 years, it has been a tradition for O’Hara’s third grade students to share the story and light of St. Lucy with the entire school. During the students’ study of saints, they discuss and reflect the attributes of a saint: a deep love of God, compassion, kindness, respectfulness. With these qualities in mind, the third graders choose one girl in each class — someone they believe exhibits these qualities — to play the role of St. Lucy on her feast day.

The chosen girls dress as St. Lucy, wearing long gowns and wreaths of candles on their heads. With their classes, they process through the school, stopping in each classroom, telling the story of St. Lucia. They sing a song in Swedish which they learn in music class the weeks leading up to this special day and distribute sweetbreads. They also pray together the following:

Santa Lucia, thy light is glowing
Through darkest winter night, comfort bestowing.
Dreams float on dreams tonight, come then the morning light.
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

O’Hara Catholic School
715 W. 18th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97402
(541) 485-5291
[email protected]
Grades: Pre-S through 8
Enrollment: 529
Tuition: For parish families $3,738 plus multi-child discounts. Tuition assistance available.
Applications due: February 15
Special offerings: Specialist teachers for art, Spanish, PE, music, technology, reading, and library; piano and band; digital music, choir and percussion ensemble for middle school students. After-school clubs for grades 1-8; before and after-school extended care; hot lunch program; several options for days and hours for pre-school and pre-kindergarten;
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 29, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.