St LydiaSaint Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) is famous for the mention in Acts 16 for her work with selling purple material (hence, her name which means purple seller), used for for expensive Roman clothing.

Lydia was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), a town in Asia Minor. She met Paul on his second missionary journey in ca. AD50. Lydia became Paul’s first convert at Philippi and he baptized her with her household in the Gaggitis River –called the Angst River. Paul with his companions stayed at her home in Philippi. Thus, it is her home that becomes the first church in Europe.

The Orthodox recall her memory liturgically on May 20.

For most Catholics praying to Saint Lydia for her intercession would be very novel. But what she models for us is not new. In his 1995 Letter to Women, Saint John Paul II wrote “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 calibre who have left an impressive and beneficial mark in history.” Right, Lydia’s genius is instructive and worthy of our consideration for knowing the desires of her heart: she was a business woman, she lived the virtue of hospitality, a leader of people, and a follower of Jesus Christ.

Let us ask Lydia to guide all women, indeed, all Christians, in their responding sacrificially to the holy desires of the heart.