Saint Lydia Purpuraria: Businesswoman and Convert
The saint of the day for August 3 is Saint Lydia Purpuraria, the first Christian convert in Europe, a businesswoman who dealt in luxury goods. She is the patron saint of cloth dyers.
Saint Lydia was born during the first century in Thyatira, a town famous for its dye works in Asia Minor, famous for its dye works, (hence, her name which means purple seller). She was a seller of purple dye and was St. Paul’s first convert at Philippi. The following is from the Acts of the Apostles:
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. – Acts 16:13-15
She was baptized with her household. Thereafter, Paul made his home with her while in Philippi.
Lydia was a woman of hospitality, a woman of faith. As a successful businesswoman she most likely had a home spacious enough to welcome guests and to use her home as a Christian center, where others would gather for the Holy Mass and prayer. After Paul and Silas were released from prison, they went immediately to Lydia’s house to see and encourage the believers gathered there. Lydia served the Lord through her gift of hospitality by welcoming others into her home.
Lydia was a businesswoman, as woman of great faith, generosity, and hospitality who used her gifts to build up the Body of Christ. Let us imitate her by sacrificially using our God-given gifts to show the Lord how much we love Him by loving His people and building up His Church. Let us pray that all Christians will offer themselves as living sacrifices to Jesus Christ.