Born on the Greek island of Aegina, Luke was the son of farmers and the third of seven children. Saracen raiders forced his family to leave their homeland for Thessaly, where Luke worked in the fields and tended sheep. He was a dutiful child, but his charity often frustrated his parents.
Luke frequently gave his own food to those who were hungry and even offered beggars the clothes from his back. When he sowed seeds in his family's fields, he sometimes scattered half in the neighboring fields of the poor. His family's crops flourished, but his parents still did not approve. After his father's death, young Luke decided to become a hermit. The decision angered his mother, who was hoping for a more traditional secular life for her son. He left home to find a monastery.
Luke was captured by tribesmen who mistook him for a runaway slave. He was imprisoned for a time, and then returned home, where he was ridiculed for running away. Later, two monks on their way to the Holy Land persuaded Luke's mother to allow him to join a monastery in Athens. Luke had hardly arrived before his superior sent him home, claiming that his mother had appeared in a vision calling for his help.
Eventually, Luke's mother understood her son's call to religious life and no longer opposed him. Luke built his hermitage on Mount Joannitsa, near Corinth. His reputation for holiness, and his numerous miracles inspired people to call him Thaumaturgus, meaning "miracle worker." Luke became so popular that after his death his cell was turned into an oratory.
O blessed Luke,
called miracle worker
by those who witnessed
your charitable heart and healing spirit,
you inspire us
to open our own hearts
for the sake of our brothers and sisters
who are less fortunate.
By your holy example,
we are moved to give of our wealth,
our time, our power and compassion,
so others may share
in the world's great riches
with which we are so generously blessed.
From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
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