Feast day: March 31
Saint Stephen of Mar Saba was introduced to the monastic lifestyle at age 10 by his uncle, Saint John Damascene. When he turned 24, Stephen began to serve the monastery by doing a number of jobs. After a time, he wished to leave the monastery to pursue life as a hermit. When he asked the abbot’s permission, he received a mixed answer. He was allowed to live as a hermit for five days of the week but was expected to act as a counselor on the weekends, due to his exceptional people skills. Accepting these terms, Stephen shut himself in his cell during the week with a sign on the door reading, “Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Even though he would have preferred to live in solitary prayer every day, Saint Stephen of Mar Saba kindly met with those seeking his counsel and was a trusted spiritual advisor.
(Image in public domain-70)