St. Mary of Egypt
(d. 378 or 437)
Egyptian woman who at the age of 12 went with her parents to live in Alexandria. As a young woman she became an actress there, and later a courtesan.
After 17 years in Alexandria, out of curiosity, she went to Jerusalem with a group of pilgrims to see the Holy Cross. though everone went into the church where it was kept, St. Mary felt a strong force that would not let her inside. She then went away and realised she must convert and make penance. When she went back to the church she could easily enter.
At the Holy Sepulcre she converted to the Christian faith and then fled into the desert beyond Jordan to live a life of penance. After 47 years she met a hermit called Zosimas and told him her lifes story. She then begged him to give her the Holy Communion.
After a year, on Easter Thursday he did, and then went away. A year later he returned only to find St. Marys dead body with a letter by it. It was addressed to him, and said she had given up her spirit the very same day he gave her the Communion. She asked him to bury her body and pray for her, which he did.
Orthodox nameday: 1/4
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