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Dave Wiseman wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Were there female saints who were prostitutes in their lives at any time?

This question came up in a school conversation.


  { Were there female saints who were prostitutes at any time in their lives? }

Eric replied:

Hi Dave,

Several, in fact. The most obvious is St. Mary Magdalene, though some question whether she was the prostitute mentioned in the Gospels.

Besides her, the most popular is probably St. Mary of Egypt. There is also St. Pelagia the Harlot. I'm sure there are others.


John replied:

Hi Dave,

I am not sure that Mary Magdalene is "officially" considered to be a reformed prostitute; it could be a "small t" tradition.

However, there is an Old Testament woman in the book of Joshua: Rahab the harlot, who is counted among the Saints in the Hall of Fame of faith. See Hebrews, Chapter 11.

31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

Hebrews 11:31

John DiMascio

Mary Ann replied:

Hi Dave,

I believe that St. Mary of Egypt was a prostitute before her conversion.

Try googling your question.

Mary Ann

Dan Beuscher commented:

Hi, John —

Concerning your reply in April 2006 to Dave Wiseman's question concerning saints who were former prostitutes:

You mentioned Rahab and referenced Hebrews.

Rahab is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5, as part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.

  • Is this the same Rahab in Hebrews?

Dan Beuscher

John replied:

Yes, she is, Dan.

Rahab's inclusion in the Christ's lineages is crucial and part of God's plan. For starters, it shows the grace of God. Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho; she gave sanctuary to the Israelite spies as they were getting ready to take the Promised Land. So we see life turned around, and as reward, she became part of Christ's genealogy.

Second, Rahab was not an Israelite. Matthew makes sure to include her name, because his Gospel was written to the Jews. As such, the Jews would have recognized the historical significance, and it would have shown them that the Messiah did not just come for them, but for the whole world.

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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