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Writing Icons with Luke

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Our youngest daughter, Agnes, loves books! Whenever she can, she will pick up a stack of picture books and take them to the couch. Then she’ll go grab her blanket, climb up on the couch, scooch in close to us and listen to story after story. Our saint this month, St. Luke, whose feast day is October 18th, also loved stories. In fact, of the four gospel writers, he alone is known as the storyteller.

St. Luke lived in the 1st century AD. He was likely a member of a wealthy family and because of that, he was very well educated. In addition to being a writer, we know that St. Luke was a physician. Luke was not a companion of Jesus, but was a Christian and knew Jesus’s apostles and travelled with St. Paul. He spent his time not only preaching the good news of salvation brought by Jesus Christ, but also listening to the stories of those who knew Jesus.  Throughout his Gospel and throughout the book of Acts, Luke portrays a number of very important ideas including, salvation is meant for everyone and Jesus is the key to understanding the complete story of salvation that began in Genesis. The final point that is clear in Luke’s writings is that he loved Mary and he believed that she was truly the first and primary disciple of Jesus. So strong was Luke’s devotion to Mary, that a legend has come down to us that he even wrote (painted) the first icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus. That is why he is known as the patron of artists as well as of doctors and surgeons.

Luke was an incredibly smart man who used his knowledge and attention to detail to convey the life of Jesus in a way that is true and beautiful. But, his desire for sharing the Good News that was brought through the Blessed Virgin Mary could not be contained in mere words, it had to be written into an image. An icon such as this helped the stories to come alive in a whole new way.

Sitting on the couch with Agnes or any of our children, we get to witness what it was like to be those who heard the story of Jesus for the first time. We can easily imagine, through the eyes of our children, the way those first Christians must have been in awe of the Man who brought salvation to all the world. They would never want to leave the side of those first storytellers. St. Luke couldn’t keep these stories to himself. They changed him forever, and he shared them by mouth, wrote them down, and wrote them in paint. These stories continue to change us. May we, as parents, always share this news with our children and may our children all grow to do the same.

Writing Icons with St. Luke (2 rosaries)


St. Luke Icon Reverse template

Picture of the original icon

Small paint brushes

Paint (we use washable tempura)

Wax paper

Clear tape

8×10 canvas


  1. Print the St. Luke Icon Reverse Template
  2. Tape a piece of wax paper to the printed paper.
  3. With a small paint brush and a dark colored paint, trace the icon onto the wax paper.
  4. Once the tracing is complete, push the canvas onto the wet paint on the wax paper.
  5. Once the image is transferred, allow it to dry.
  6. Complete the icon by filling in the blank space with as many details as you’d like.

This activity is best for children 7+. For families with younger children, simply print off this original template and use crayons, markers, or paints to color the image.

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