- Maria Aegyptica
Beautiful, spoiled, cynical, disenchanted, rich child who was the center of her family’s pride, and who repaid them by running away at age 12. She ran to Alexandria, Egypt where she worked as a dancer, singer, and prostitute for 17 years. Around age 30, Mary took ship on a pilgrimage to Palestine, hoping to ply her trade among the pilgrims, and then in Jerusalem.
On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross she moved with the crowds to the church, looking for customers. At the church door she found herself invisibliy repelled, unable to open the door; she was overcome with remorse for her life and exclusion from the Church. She repented, and asked for Our Lady‘s guidance; a voice told that to find rest, she should cross the Jordan River. The next day Mary crossed the river, wandered into the desert, and took up the life of a hermit for nearly 50 years as penance.
She lived on herbs, berries, and whatever came to hand. She met Saint Zosimus of Palestine. She once told him to come back exactly one year from that day; when he did, he found she had died. With the help of a lion, Zosimus dug her grave; he later wrote a biography of her, and her life was a popular story in the Middle Ages.
- c.421 in the desert near the River Jordan of natural causes
- relics at Rome, Naples, and Cremona in Italy, and in Antwerp, Belgium
- woman being chased from a church by an angel with a sword
- woman holding three loaves of bread
- woman kneeling before a skull
- woman receiving Holy Communion from Saint Zosimus of Palestine
- woman sitting at a table with a skull and bread
- woman sitting under a palm tree and looking across the Jordan River
- woman washing her hair in the Jordan River
- woman with Saint Mary Magdalen
- woman with the lion who dug her grave
- naked woman clothed with long hair
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler
- New Catholic Dictionary
- Pictorial Lives of the Saints
- Saint Andrew of Crete
- “Saint Mary of Egypt“. Saints.SQPN.com. 28 March 2014. Web. 23 April 2014. <>