St Macarius the Great
Claim to fame: St Macarius the Great was one of the early church fathers who advanced the idea of monasticism. He sold all he had and gave it to the poor and had a nearby hermit teach him the art of prayer, and also of basket-weaving. He was likely a pupil of St Anthony the Great. The people were impressed by Macarius’ apparent maturity in holiness and wisdom and had him made a priest by the bishop. He wished not to become a priest but in his humility could not refuse. A certain girl in the village became pregnant and accused Father Macarius of fathering the unborn child. The people sought him out, beat him, and whipped him but in his humility, he remained silent. He returned to his cell, making mats and selling them to give the money to the woman so that she could eat, accepting the woman as his wife. After suffering the pains of labour, the woman confessed the truth causing the people of the village to seek Father Macarius to apologise. When he heard this, he fled and remained in the desert for the rest of his life in his humility
Quote: “Christians have a glory and a beauty and a heavenly wealth which is beyond words, and it is won with pains, and sweat and trials, and many conflicts all by the grace of God”
Fun fact: His father forced him to get married against his will so he faked an illness in order to escape and stay in the wilderness for a few days. While in the wilderness, he prayed that God would direct him to what is pleasing to Him. When he returned, the woman he was supposed to marry had died and he thanked God.