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Our readers asked:

Were Mary and Joseph ostracized in Egypt?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:

The Bible offers us very little information about the Flight into Egypt. The Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13 -23) explains how Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him to take his family and flee to Egypt in order to escape Herod’s murderous plans. Joseph did as directed, and the family stayed in Egypt until it was safe to return to Palestine. But the Gospels tell us nothing about where exactly the Holy Family settled, or how they were treated by the locals.

That said, there are fascinating legends about the Holy Family’s journeys throughout Egypt. Many of these come from apocrphycal writings, as well as from Coptic and Muslim traditions. One such legend says that the Holy Family was attacked by robbers shortly after arriving in Egypt; another legend says that as the young Jesus passed through one town, his presence caused all the idols to crumble to pieces, which made the townsfolk [understandably] hostile towards the Holy Family. Other stories, however, talk about the kindness of the Egyptian locals towards the Holy Family, for which the townspeople were blessed. So the legends vary widely, and how much of those legends are truth and how much are fiction is hard to discern.

The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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