Pelagia (also called Margaret) was an actress who lived in Antioch. She was beautiful, rich and careless about the way she lived. But one day, she was traveling through town and passed Saint Nonnus, a bishop. He commented on how pretty she was, and maybe that’s why she decided to go hear him preach the next day, even though she never went to church. Everything he said went straight to her heart, and she asked him to baptize her immediately. Then Pelagia gave Nonnus all her money to help the poor. Not only did she give up her wealth, she gave up her beauty. She left Antioch dressed as a man and went to live in a cave in Jerusalem, where she prayerfully did penance for all the sins she had committed in her life. People called her “the beardless monk” and nobody knew she was a woman until she died.
Saint Nonnus taught Pelagia how serious her sins were – and how precious the gift of salvation from Jesus is. She responded with sincere contrition – she was sad about her sins and she gave up everything for Jesus to thank Him for dying for her sin. Today, take a few moments to think about your own sins and pray an Act of Contrition to the Lord.