Disciple of Saint Paul (First Century)
+ According to the Acts of the Apostles (16:13ff), Lydia was merchant of purple cloth in Philippi. When Saint Paul visited that city sometime around the year 55, he baptized Lydia and her household.
+ The baptism is celebrated as the first recorded conversion to Christianity in Europe.
+ A woman of wealth and influence, Lydia is remembered for the hospitality she offered to Paul, Luke and Silas.
+ Saint Lydia was added to the Church’s official list of saints, The Roman Martyrology, at the time of the Council of Trent.
On this day, the Church remembers another important figure in the life of Saint Paul: the scholar Gamaliel. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that Gamaliel was a Jewish scholar who served a Paul’s teacher following his conversion on the road to Damascus. Some believe that this is also the same Gamaliel who defended Saint Peter and Saint John when they were placed on trial by the Sanhedrin in Acts chapter 5.
“In this vast domain of service, the Church’s two-thousand-year history, for all its historical conditioning, has truly experienced the ‘genius of woman’; from the heart of the Church there have emerged women of the highest caliber who have left an impressive and beneficial mark in history.”—Pope Saint John Paul II, Letter to Women
O God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of blessed Lydia, grant, we pray, that we, who are called to honor her, may also follow her example of holy living. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Holy Woman)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.