• 30 Jan 20

Jan 30 - “St. Pelagia of Diveyevo” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Feast Day St. Pelagia!

Saint Blessed Pelagia’s family pushed her into an unhappy marriage when she was a young woman.  In time she began acting like a fool.  Her husband lost patience with her and started beating her.  He also constrained her with chains so that she could not run through the village, embarrassing him. 

Her mother took her to St. Seraphim of Sarov for spiritual direction. The elder spoke privately with Pelagia for a long time.  When she left, he told her, “Go, little Mother, to Diveyevo and defend my orphans.  God will glorify you there.”  He told her mother, “The Lord does not call those of little strength to such a path… For such a struggle, He chooses those courageous and strong in body and spirit.  So do not keep her in chains and do not constrain her, or else you will answer to the Lord for lt.”

During his lifetime, St. Seraphim had been the spiritual guide for the nuns in a large convent in Diveyevo.  After his death, Pelagia went there to live as a lay woman and holy fool.  The nuns, too, considered her to be an ordinary crazy woman and found her unbearable.  Eventually they began recognizing her many spiritual gifts, however, and especially her ability to direct souls.  All the nuns came under her spiritual direction, as St. Seraphim had predicted.  The abbess did nothing without consulting her. 

She is shown in this icon with flowers.  Although she ran around dirty and disheveled, she loved flowers and brought bunches back to the monastic cell she shared with the nun who watched over her.  She died on January 30, 1884, and is sometimes called “Seraphim’s Seraphim.”