The Desert Mothers | Features | Spirituality & Practice

Who were the desert mothers?These women lived in the fourth and fifth centuries, C.E. Their way of life came into being after Christianity had become legal and Christians were no longer under persecution. Some had deep questions about an expression of the faith that was taking on the trappings of the Roman Empire. The “red martyrdom” (sacrificing one’s life rather than recanting faith in the resurrected Lord) was no longer possible. So the practice of the “white martyrdom” began to appear — women and men going to the deserts of Egypt and the Holy Land, and seeking to live out the Great Commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, Dt. 6:5, Lev. 19:18) As scholar Roberta Bondi has pointed out, the desert mothers and fathers are remarkable for their daily practice of seeking to “love as God loves.”

Source: The Desert Mothers | Features | Spirituality & Practice

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