April 3: St. Mary of Egypt

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. . .   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:5&12

St. Mary of Egypt lived in the fourth century. According to her biographers, she became a prostitute at a young age, a job which she greatly enjoyed. Around age 30, she went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the sole purpose of finding more clients there and along the journey.

In Jerusalem she was suddenly confronted by the realization of her sinfulness, when a force stopped her from entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. She prayed for forgiveness and crossed the Jordan, becoming a hermit. After many years of solitude, she met a monk named St. Zosimus of Palestine. After sharing stories, he left, and returned the next year to share Communion with her. She died the next day, and Zosimus told her story to the other monks at the monastery.

Many traditions celebrate her life on different days. April 3 is her feast day in the Catholic church.


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