Lydia, Matron Saint of the Hospitable

Come in,
you tired, your poor, you fearful.
Come in,
you immigrant, you refugee,
you who have lost your home.
I have space.
I have warmth and food.
I have grace and abundance.
Come in,
so that you may no longer be a stranger,
but my friend.


Lydia is the last of these matron saints. I have long felt drawn to her story – a woman who dealt in purple cloth, intimating that she was a woman of wealth and power in a culture that did not usually give women power. She used her wealth and power for good, inviting the apostles in.

I began her at a time when our nation struggled (and continues to) about issues regarding refugees and immigrants. I was drawn to Lydia’s sense of hospitality, and the mandate of many religions to show hospitality to strangers. My heart aches for the refugees of the world, and Lydia shows my deep desire that we would welcome these strangers into our midst.

A dealer in purple cloth, she is clothed in purple. Her torch is meant to be reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, receiving the tired and poor and the masses yearning to breathe free.