The Nun Isidora, Fool-for-Christ

Commemorated on May 10

      The Nun Isidora, Fool-for-Christ, asceticised in the Tabenea monastery (Egypt) during the VI Century. The maiden Isidora took upon herself the feat of folly, she acted like one insane and did not partake of food together with the sisters of the monastery. Many of them regarded her with contempt, but Isidora bore all this with great patience and meekness, blessing God in everything. She toiled in the kitchen and fulfilled at the monastery the very dirty and hard tasks, cleansing the monastery of every impurity. The Nun Isidora covered her head with a plain dish-rag, and in place of cooked food she drank the soapy wash-water from the pots and dishes. She never became angry, never insulted anyone with a word, never grumbled against God or the sisters, and was given to silence.
      One time a wilderness monk, Saint Pitirim, had a vision. An Angel of God appeared to him and said: "Go to the Tabenea monastery. There thou wilt see a sister, wearing on her head a dish-rag. She doth serve them all with love and bears their contempt without grumbling. Her heart and her thoughts rest always with God. By comparison thou dost sit in solitude, but thine thoughts flit about all over the world".
      The elder set out to the Tabenea monastery, but among the sisters gathered he did not see the one pointed out to him in the vision. Then they led Isidora to him, considering her a demoniac. Isidora fell down at the knees of the elder, asking his blessing. But the Monk Pitirim himself bowed down to the ground to her and said: " Bless me first, venerable mother!" To the astonished questions of the sisters the elder answered: "Isidora before God is higher up than all of us!" Then the sisters began to repent, confessing all the insults hurled by them at Isidora, and they asked forgiveness of her. The saint, however, distressed over her fame, secretly hid herself away from the monastery, and her ultimate fate remained unknown. They presume that she died not later than the year 365.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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