Encounters with Medieval Women: Repentant Sinner

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley

In the first episode of their new podcast miniseries looking at the lives and voices of medieval women, Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley encounter Saint Mary of Egypt, who (if she existed) lived sometime between the 3rd and 6th centuries. In the stories of Mary's life she leads a wild and licentious youth before exiling herself to serve penitence in the desert. There she meets Zosimas, an ascetic monk, and teaches him the value of an imperfect life. Several accounts of her life were written in the Middle Ages, including one in Old English that appears in a manuscript with Ælfric’s Lives of the Saints.

To listen to Mary and Irina's twelve-part series, Medieval Beginnings, and all our other Close Readings series, sign up to our Close Readings subscription here: https://lrb.me/closereadings

Image: Saint Mary of Egypt (1641) by Jusepe de Ribera
Music by Kieran Brunt / Produced by Anthony Wilks

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences