Bring aid to one who has solace nowhere now
Save in you and your Son.
I beg you, order the sacred doors
To be opened to me;
Mistress of heaven, allow me to look upon
The royal marks of the sacred cross on which He suffered with His body.
Take me in your trust, allow me now to be without the uncleanness
Of lust, and after I see the sacred scepters –
Behold, with the excess
And pomp of the world abandoned – I shall go forth,
Blessed One, to the place where you summon me.
(Taken from: On Mary the Egyptian and Zosimas by Flodoard of Reims.)
Saint Mary of Egypt (344 – 421) is revered as the patron saint of penitents in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches. Mary was born in Egypt,; she ran away from home at age 12 to the metropolitan city of Alexandria where she lived a promiscuous existence; often refusing money for her sexual services; though, she frequently supplemented her income by begging and spinning flax. At age 29, she followed a religious pilgrimage from Egypt to Jerusalem, by promising free sexual favors to various pilgrims. Once in Jerusalem, Saint Mary continued her depraved life. Miraculously, while trying to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – she was invisibly barred from going inside. Instantly, she was struck by remorse. Then, through the intercession of Our Lady, she begged Our Lord for forgiveness and desired to reform her life as an ascetic. At the urging of an inner voice, she fled her lurid past and became a desert hermitess.