Desert Mothers

early Christian ascetics, 3rd–5th centuries AD

Desert Mothers is a term feminist theologians use for women who lived in the desert of Egypt, Syria and Palestine, in the 4th and 5th century. Usually they lived in monasteries. The term is used to refer to the Desert Fathers, monks who went to live an ascetic lifestyle in the desert, about a century earlier.

Notable examples were Syncletica of Alexandria, Theodora of Alexandria, Sarah of the Desert, Melania the Elder, Melania the Younger, Olympias the Deaconess, and Eustochium.