Mary of Egypt

Mary Of Egypt, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, according to her legend, ran away from her parents when twelve years of age; led a very dissolute life for seventeen years at Alexandria, and then joined a party of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, with the intention of living there in the same manner. Arriving in that city, she wished to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but was held back by an unseen power; she then knelt before an image of Mary, and vowed to reform her life. She was now permitted to enter the church, and, after praying to the cross, asked the Virgin to direct her what she should do to be agreeable to God. A supernatural voice told her to go to the other side of Jordan, into the wilderness. Mary obeyed, and lived there forty-seven years, enduring privations of all kinds, until the monk Zosimus discovered her one day, an old, naked, sunburnt woman, covered with white hair. She asked him for his cloak, his prayers, and his blessing; related to him her history, and asked him to come to see her again in a year, and to bring her the communion. As he came at the appointed time, she met him and communed with him. But when he went again to her, as appointed, three years afterwards, he found only a corpse, and her name written beside her on the sand. After he had long tried in vain to dig a -rave to bury her, a lion came and helped him. According to the general opinion, she died during the reign of Theodosius the Younger. Her grave became a great shrine, and a number of churches and chapels were placed under her protection. She is most honored in the Greek Church, and fis commemorated ou. LE. 2d of April. See C. Baronii Martyrologium, Romanum (Moguntiae, 1631, p. 209 sq.); Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 9:105. (J. N. P.)

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