Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with Saint Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician." We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians. It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile.

We know nothing about Luke's conversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul's company going down to Troas where Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia pleading with him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Then suddenly in 16:10 Luke uses the first person: "When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them." So Luke first joined Paul's company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul nor did he accompany Paul on his third missionary journey. But in Acts 20:5, the switch to "we" tells us that Luke left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas.

Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61 and who remains with him to the end: "Only Luke is with me." Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions. The reports of Luke's life after Paul's death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The tradition that Luke was a painter may not be based in fact, but several images of Mary claim him as the artist. Because of this tradition, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures, as well as the patron of physicians and surgeons. Luke is often shown with an ox or a calf, the symbols of sacrifice.

Adapted from an article by Terry Matz, Catholic Online Saints.