The holy and glorious venerable-martyr Maria Skobtsova (also Saint Mary of Paris or Mother Maria) was a nun and martyr in Paris in the early twentieth century. She encouraged hospitality and love of one's neighbor, often in the most uncompromising of terms. She considered this to be the foundation of the Christian gospel, and she embodied it in her life. She is often compared to Dorothy Day, an American Roman Catholic who founded the Catholic Worker movement. Saint Mary died a martyr in Ravensbrück prison. She was glorified by the Church of Constantinople on January 16, 2004, along with her companions, Priest Dmitri Klepinin, her son George (Yuri) Skobtsov, and Elie Fondaminsky.
Born to a well to do, upper-class family in 1891 in Latvia, she was given the name Elizaveta Pilenko. Her father died when she was a teenager, and she embraced atheism. In 1906 her mother took the family to St. Petersburg, where she became involved in radical intellectual circles. In 1910 she married a Bolshevik by the name of Dimitri Kuzmin-Karaviev. During this period of her life she was actively involved in literary circles and wrote much poetry. Her first book, Scythian Shards, was a collection of poetry from this period. By 1913 her marriage to Dimitri had ended.
Through a look at the humanity of Jesus – “He also died. The sweated blood. They struck his face