This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 3 -- Feast of Saint Lydia Purpuraria

muted purple with scarlet cape
There's really not much to be said about Saint Lydia, except that she was Saint Paul's first convert in Philippi.  Her only appearance in the Book of Acts 16:13-15 is so brief that I can copy it in directly.

On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, "If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.

tasteful purple accents -- nothing garish about Lydia
 Since she was a seller of purple dye (thus the name Purpuraria), some folks figure she was wealthy.  Maybe, but she may also have been the sort of merchant whose wealth is tied up in her stock rather than being disposable.  Just because purple dye was expensive does not mean that her margin was fat.

Then again, she invited Paul and his companions to stay at her house, so presumably she lived comfortably enough that she could spare the space and food with no sense of embarrassment. 

She is the patron of dyers, but I don't personally know anyone who earns a living that way.  I think every kid who goes to summer camp winds up making a tie-dyed shirt, so maybe she'll watch out for them, too.  And lots of folks use the color purple as a symbol, including Catholics for Marriage Equality.  Here's hoping she approves of their color choice and gives them a hand.

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