St. Stephen of Mar Saba - Venerable Stephen of St Sava Monastery
A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace.
Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays."
Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide.
His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."
Stephen died in 794.
St Stephen’s holy life was so pleasing to God that he was given the gifts of
wonderworking and clairvoyance. He also healed the sick, cast out devils, and was able to discern the thoughts of those who came to him for counsel. He fell asleep in the Lord in the year 794, foretelling in advance the day of his death. The Life of St Stephen was compiled by his disciple Leontius.
Today’s saint should not be confused with the other St Stephen of St Sava’s Monastery who is commemorated on October 28.