Church to celebrate feast of long-time prostitute turned hermit

Thursday, April 1, is the feast of a little-known saint whose story demonstrates the power of the Church as the home of forgiveness, redemption and mercy. St. Mary of Egypt was a prostitute for 17 years before she received the Eucharist and chose the life of a hermit.

Born in 344 A.D., Mary of Egypt moved to the city of Alexandria when she was 12 years old and worked as a prostitute for 17 years. With the intention of continuing her trade, she joined a large group that was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

On the feast day itself, she joined the crowd as it was headed to the church in order to venerate the relic of the True Cross, again with the intention of luring others into sin. When she got to the door of the church, she was unable to enter. A miraculous force propelled her away from the door each time she approached. After trying to get in three or four times, Mary of Egypt moved to a corner of the churchyard and began to cry tears of remorse.

Then she saw a statue of the Blessed Virgin. She prayed to the Holy Mother for permission to enter the church for the purposes of venerating the relic. She promised the Virgin Mother that if she were allowed to enter the church, she would renounce the world and its ways.

Mary of Egypt entered the church, venerated the relic and returned to the statue outside to pray for guidance. She heard a voice telling her to cross the Jordan River and find rest. She set out and in the evening, she arrived at the Jordan and received communion in a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

The next day, she crossed the river and went into the desert, where she lived alone for 47 years. Then, while making his Lenten retreat, a priest named Zosimus found the hermitess. She asked him to return to the banks of the Jordan on Holy Thursday of the following year and to bring her Communion. The priest was true to his word and returned bearing the Eucharist. Mary told him to come back again the next year, but to the place where he had originally met her.

When Zosimus returned in a year’s time, he found Mary’s corpse. On the ground beside it was a written request that she be buried accompanied by a statement that she had died one year ago, in 421 A.D., on the very night she had received Holy Communion.

Read more here: catholicnewsagency.com/news/church_to_celebrate_feast_of_long-time_prostitute_turned_hermit/

This is the true beauty of the Church!

I learned something interesting today! Thanks!

Yup, alongside stories like those of St Paul, St Mary Magdalene, St Augustine, St Margaret of Cortona, St Pelagia and many other lesser-known sinners-turned-Saint. :thumbsup: :getholy:

Fr Beshoner of the Catholic Under the Hood podcast did a show about St Mary of Egypt, it is archived here:
archive.org/details/theosislifeofsaintmary

St. Mary of Egypt was covered in the book “Saints Behaving Badly”, by Thomas J. Craughwell, which details the lives that many saints lived before turning their lives around. Craughwell says in the chapter on St. Mary that hers is a difficult life to describe, because she wasn’t really a prostitute. She was someone who enjoyed sex and who enjoyed using sex to control men. She lived very well on the gifts that her lovers gave her, but she was more interested in the challenge of seduction than the financial rewards it might bring. She would see a man who was really dedicated to his wife and children, and do what she could to seduce him, just for the challenge.

CNA STAFF, Mar 29, 2010 (CNA).- Thursday, April 1, is the feast of a little-known saint whose story demonstrates the power of the Church as the home of forgiveness, redemption and mercy. St. Mary of Egypt was a prostitute for 17 years before she received the Eucharist and chose the life of a hermit.

Full article…

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_of_Egypt newadvent.org/cathen/09763a.htm I learn something new about our faith everyday.

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