It was through Grazia Bonafede Caniglia’s vision that the centerpiece of the festival was established. The statue of Santa Lucia was designed in Italy. Omaha immigrants went door-to-door to collect money and treasures to have the statue designed and transported by boat to the United States. In the early 1920’s, it took a small fortune to undertake this monumental task. Citizens collected $2,000 to forever seal Grazia's vision.
Demonstrated in the statue, as in many paintings, Santa Lucia is holding a tray containing her eyes, symbolizing the method in which her eyes were taken from her during life. Each year during the festival, the statue is decorated with jewels and gold that have been donated by the faithful. Some of the items date back to the early days of the festival.
Today, Santa Lucia is kept at St. Frances Cabrini Church, where descendents of the festival’s early Italian immigrants have agreed to put her on display year round.