Just two years ago, our church received the blessed relics of St. Mary of Egypt. Her story is a perfect example of repentance and change.
She was born to Christian parents in Alexandria but unfortunately when she was 12, she was tricked by Satan and lived a life of sin for almost 17 years. One day, she decided to board a ship to Jerusalem. When she arrived, she wished to go into the church of the Resurrection but a divine power prevented her from entering. She quickly realized that it’s because of her sinful life that she couldn’t enter. She wept bitterly and asked the Virgin Mary to intercede on her behalf in front of God. Then, she was able to enter the church freely and she prayed to God for Him to guide her. She looked towards an icon of the Virgin Mary, praying for guidance and salvation when suddenly a voice came out saying, “If you cross the Jordan river you will find rest and salvation.”
She quickly crossed the river to the wilderness where she lived for 47 years. She fought hard against Satan and overcame him with the power of God. In her 45th year in the wilderness, St. Zosima, a monk, saw her. She knew his name before even meeting him, which made St. Zosima marvel. In the following 2 years, he came and gave her the Holy Communion. In the final year, St. Zosima found that St. Mary had passed away. A lion was standing beside her, protecting her holy body and there was a writing saying, “Bury Mary, the poor woman, in the dust of which she was created.” He prayed over her and buried her. He returned to the monastery and told the monks the story of the spiritual struggles and journey of this holy saint.
May her blessings be with us all. Amen.