For those of you may have missed this, I am a Catholic girl gone bad. Trying to once again be good, but I did some awfully bad things. Today is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics – that means, you better get your butt to a Church today unless you have a very good reason.
Today is All Saints Day – a day in which Catholics honor the Saints and ask them to pray for us. Or as George Bush would say, a little Quid Pro Quo. I was never much of a Bush fan, but at least he gave me a Latin phrase to make me seem more Ivy League.
Anyway, one of the Saints that I have been fascinated about is Mary of Edessa. So instead of my usual low brow – for instance in the paragraph above, I mentioned I was not a Bush fan. I may have made some sort of lesbian comment that would have been both cute and titillating. Not today, though. Let me slide into my knee high white socks and educate the masses – sans ruler.
Mary of Edessa was the niece of Saint Abraham Kidunaia – and he was sort of a character in his own right. On the day of his marriage (he was a rich guy, think lots of pomp and circumstance), he seals himself in a small room with only a window from which his family can pass food or communicate with him. He says he is not coming out, that he wants to dedicate his life to his religion. They capitulate, and he only comes out of his room twice. The only thing I wonder is "what kind of waste removal was being employed." Think about it.
Back to our Mary of Edessa. Mary lived for about 20 years as an anchoress near Abraham's cell. In the middle ages an anchoress was a woman who lived in a small, sealed room inside a church; she would have visual access to the Sanctuary and to Holy Communion. Usually there was also a small side window at which she could converse with visitors, receive foods, and the like. End of vocabulary lesson.
In a moment of weakness, Mary of Edessa was seduced by a renegade monk who had turned from his vows. Think about this – an otherwise Holy woman starts having sex with this renegade monk, can't forgive herself, and starts making bad choices. She moves far away, and begins living a "a wild, dissolute, and sexually active life ". So anyway, here this woman is, having sex with all of these men (remind you of anyone?), and I am sure this news finds its way back to her family.
Saint Abraham (see above) hears about his niece, and for the only second and last time, leaves his room to talk with her. How does he do this? He disguises himself as a soldier and picks up his niece. He has been in that room for a long time – so I am sure she really doesn’t remember what he looks like anyway. And, no, he doesn't jump her. He is a Saint. She takes him back to her place, and then he says "girl, get control of yourself."
She converted and returned to the life of an anchoress, spending the rest of her days in prayer. An inspiring story for me. A woman who has redeemed herself.