Writing icons with Luke – Catholic Telegraph


Our youngest daughter, Agnes, loves books! Whenever she can, she picks up a stack of picture books and takes them to the couch. Then she’ll go get her blanket, climb on the couch, crawl next to us, and listen to story after story. Our saint this month, Saint Luke, whose feast is October 18, also loved stories. In fact, of the four evangelists, he alone is known as the storyteller.

Saint Luke lived in the 1st century AD. He was probably a member of a well-to-do family and because of that he was highly educated. In addition to being a writer, we know that Saint Luke was a doctor. Luke was not a companion of Jesus, but was a Christian and knew the apostles of Jesus and traveled with Saint 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 describes a number of very important ideas, including, salvation is for everyone and Jesus is the key to understanding the full story of salvation which started in Genesis. The last point that is clear in Luke’s writings is that he loved Mary and that he believed that she was truly Jesus’ first and foremost disciple. Luke’s devotion to Mary was so strong that a legend has come down to us that he even wrote (painted) the first icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. This is why he is known as the patron of artists as well as doctors and surgeons.

Luke was an incredibly intelligent man who used his knowledge and attention to detail to convey the life of Jesus in a true and beautiful way. But, his desire to share the Good News brought by the Blessed Virgin Mary could not be contained in mere words, it had to be written in a picture. An icon like this has helped stories come to life in a whole new way.

Sitting on the couch with Agnes or one of our children, we witness what it was like to be the ones who heard the story of Jesus for the first time. We can easily imagine, through the eyes of our children, how these early Christians must have been in awe of the Man who brought salvation to the whole world. They would never want to leave the side of these early storytellers. Saint Luke could not keep these stories to himself. They changed him forever, and he shared them orally, 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 up to do the same.

Writing icons with Saint Luke (2 rosaries)


Saint Luke icon inverted pattern

Original icon image

Small brushes

Painting (we use washable tempura)

Wax paper


8 × 10 canvas


  1. Print the inverted model of the Saint-Luc icon
  2. Glue a piece of waxed paper onto the printed paper.
  3. Using a small brush and dark colored paint, trace the icon onto the waxed paper.
  4. When tracing is complete, push the canvas over the wet paint onto the waxed paper.
  5. After the image is transferred, allow it to dry.
  6. Complete the icon by filling in the empty space with as much detail as you want.

This activity is ideal for children ages 7 and up. For families with young children, simply print out this quirky pattern and use crayons, markers or paints to color the image.

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