to read about
A Sinner’s Lenten Alphabet.]
Mary of Egypt is my patron saint. Having been a prostitute in 4th century Egypt, she became a hermit in the dessert after her repentance. You can read her story here.
St. Mary’s life is read along with the Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete on Wednesday night during week before the Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt.
You can read more about Saint Mary of Egypt here, and here.
I went through a particularly dark time in my life in the early 1990s, and I believe that Mary was praying for me, and helped pull me through. So, when I was visiting Holy Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan, in April of 1997, I wrote the following poem.
It was actually on the Sunday of Mary of Egypt—the fifth Sunday of Great Lent. Saint Mary of Egypt has two feast days, April 1 AND the 5th Sunday of Great Lent. In 1997 these days were the same. The poem is actually a prayer:
Saint Mary of Egypt
Fill my soul, O Lord
As you filled the soul of Your Holy Mother;
Let there be no room in my soul
For anything but you.
Fill my belly, O Lord
As You filled blessed Mary in the desert;
Let my sustenance be only You
And the blessing of Your Saints.
Fill my mind, O Lord
As you filled the theologians
With words to teach us Your ways
And wisdom that gives life.
Fill my mouth, O Lord
As you filled the mouth of David,
Enabling him to sing your praise
And teaching repentance through his psalms.
Fill my days, O Lord
As you fill each moment of time
With good works appointed for our sake
Increasing us in virtues and piety.
Fill my nights, O Lord
As you filled the desert nights
With watchfulness, tears and victory
For holy saints who sought you there.
Fill my flesh, O Lord
As you fill those who keep the fast;
With Your own Body and Blood
So that it becomes my only satisfaction.
Fill my eyes, O Lord
As once you filled Saint Mary’s eyes,
First with humble tears of repentance
And finally with your glorious Light.
Hymns to Saint Mary of Egypt:
Troparion (Tone 8)
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O mother,
For you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away;
But to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.
Therefore your spirit, O holy Mother Mary, rejoices with the Angels.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
Having been a sinful woman,
You became through repentance a Bride of Christ.
Having attained angelic life,
You defeated demons with the weapon of the Cross;
Therefore, O most glorious Mary you are a Bride of the Kingdom!