Wednesday, July 28, 2010

St. Lydia Purpuraria (1st century)

"And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, did hear: whose heart the Lord opened to attend to those things which were said by Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying: If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."
(Acts 16:14-15)

I've liked shades of purple since my first grade teacher handed me a lilac colored piece of construction paper. This carried on through my freshman year in college, when most of my clothing was purple: shirts, tank tops, dresses, underwear (thongs to be exact), and a vest with zippers as a birthday present from my cousin, Melanie. I even had purple stripes on my Nike sneakers.
The color has been a sign of wealth and royalty since the first century when the purple dye, made from a mollusc, was something that only rich people could afford.
St. Lydia Purpuraria, who lived in Thyatira, was a merchant of purple cloth, the most expensive of its kind. She is said to be the first convert of St. Paul. St. Lydia of Purpuraria's feast day is Aug. 3.
Priests also wear purple vestments during Lent and Advent representing solemnity and penitence.

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