Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Thaïs

Thaïs, St., a penitent courtesan of Egypt, converted c. 344 by Paphnutius of Sidon. Her story illustrates her age. Her fame reached to Paphnutius's monastery, whereupon he determined to make a great effort to convert her, though she was evidently a nominal Christian. He assumed a secular dress and put a single coin in his pocket, which he offered to Thaïs on arriving at her house. Recognizing his true character, she cast herself at his feet, destroyed all her precious dresses, and entered a female monastery, where Paphnutius shut her up in a cell, sealing the door, and leaving only a small window, through which to receive food. After 3 years she received absolution, and died 15 days after (Vit. PP. in Migne's Patr. Lat. lxxiii. 661).