The heroine of The Chronicles of Narnia is inspired by a Dominican tertiary from the 15th century.
Perhaps we all know of Lucy Pevensie, the little girl who was the first to dare to pass through the wardrobe that led to Narnia, and who would later be crowned as one of the queens of the land, with the title Lucy the Valiant.
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.