Isidora lived in the 4th century in a monastery with 400 other women. They called her “the monastery sponge” because she was always taking on the dirtiest chores; she even wore a kitchen rag on her head. She subsisted on dishwater and the crumbs from other people’s meals, and they said she feigned madness. Nobody respected her.
One day, an angel appeared to a hermit by the name of Piteroum, who had confined himself to a cell on the shores of the Red Sea. “Why are you proud of yourself for being religious and dwelling in a place like this?” the angel said. “Do you want to see a woman who is more religious than you? Though she spars with so great a crowd, she has never let her heart go away from God.” Instead of a rag, the angel said, Isidora wore a crown.