The heroine of The Chronicles of Narnia is inspired by a Dominican tertiary from the 15th century.
C.S. Lewis gave the name Lucy to his character in recognition of his friend Owen Barfield, whose daughter had the name and was Lewis’ godchild. But that wasn’t the only source of his inspiration. It was also a homage to one of the great Italian mystics, Lucia Brocadelli.
Brocadelli, in fact, was born in Narni — yes, you read that right, in Narni — a town between Assisi and Rome that in the times of the emperor Nerva, who reigned from 96 to 98 and was also born in Narni, was known as Narnia.
Blessed Lucia Brocadelli, better known as Lucia of Narni, was a Dominican tertiary with profound mystical experiences. She had the stigmata, meaning she had the wounds of Christ on her body, like Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio. And she had visions of the Virgin Mary and St. Dominic when she was just a girl.
Lucia wanted to become a Dominican nun, but the premature death of her father led her uncle to arrange a marriage for her. Lucia was betrothed to the count Pietro de Milan, who agreed to let Lucia keep her vow of chastity.
Thus was fulfilled in Lucia what the Virgin had promised her: that she would be like Her, married and a virgin.
In time, Lucia did join a convent and her husband, in fact, did the same, taking the Franciscan habit.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!