The Divine Lover and the New Magdalene

On this later day, a woman runs to grace who earlier ran to guilt. In the evening she seeks Christ who in the morning knew she had lost Adam … She who had taken perfidy from paradise hastens to take faith from the sepulchre; she hastens to snatch life from death who had snatched death from life.

Peter Chrysologus, Sermon on Matthew 28:1

For the first twenty-nine years of her life, St. Mary of Egypt (5th century) shared little else with the Virgin Mary than a name. A prostitute from the age of twelve, Mary of Egypt subjected herself to every form of abuse and self-hatred until, at the age of twenty-nine, her curiosity roused her to join a pilgrimage for the Elevation of the Cross in Jerusalem. When she arrived at the church in Jerusalem, Mary found her entrance blocked by an imperceptible, irresistible spiritual force. The depravity of her existence suddenly assailed her and she begged the Blessed Virgin to have mercy upon her. Instantly, the barriers that had stopped her dissolved. Almost as quickly, Mary's unhealthy spiritual accretions dissipated. For the remainder of her life, she lived in simplicity and piety in the Egyptian desert, a model of repentance, of renewed purity, and of the recovery of the fullness of life.
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,

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