Saint Matrona was born in the village of Volissos on Chios sometime in the fourteenth century. Her parents, Leon and Anna, were highly respected and well-to-do Christians. Mary was the youngest of seven children. From her youth, she showed an interest in monasticism. When the time came for her parents to arrange her marriage, she refused because she wanted to remain a virgin. To avoid this marriage, she left Volissos and went to an area overlooking the village, called Katavasis. Here she began her spiritual struggle by fasting and prayer. Soon other nuns joined her. Her parents searched everywhere to find her. After locating her, they convinced her to return home. Mary complied with her parents' wishes, except for one—she refused to wed. Her parents, seeing that she still desired to lead a monastic life, gave her their consent to pursue her ambition.
When Mary's parents died, she distributed the farmland she inherited among her sisters and the orphans of the community. She left Volissos and returned to Katavasis. Her food was simple and brought to her by one of her sisters. After three years she left Katavasis and went to the capital of the island, where there were many women's monasteries.
Upon visiting the different monasteries, Mary found a small secluded one consisting of three nuns: a mother and her two daughters. The nuns, realizing her sincerity, immediately welcomed her into their home. At this point Mary's name was changed to St. Matrona. (When a nun reaches a high point in her monastic life and becomes a Stavrophore, a new name is bestowed upon her, symbolizing a second baptism and a new way of life).
St. Matrona surpassed the other nuns in her devotion, spirituality, and understanding. Her sincerity convinced other girls to come to this monastery and lead the same type of life. The church itself was small, and so the abbess agreed with St. Matrona's plan to enlarge it and to build cells for the nuns. Any remaining farmland and personal belongings St. Matrona sold, and the monastery built a public bath with the money received from this sale so that the poor and wayfarers could bathe. These baths were very common at this time. After this, the renovation of the church began. When the church was completed (with the help of St. Artemios, to whom it was dedicated), the abbess of the monastery died. The nuns then elected St. Matrona as the new abbess. She showed charity to the poor, and was able to heal the sick.
After the Genoese conquered the island of Chios, they plundered the island and the monasteries, including the monastery of St. Matrona. When one of these foreigners attempted to attack the nuns of the monastery, the saint prayed for divine help. From the heavens bolts of lightning fell to the ground, killing the assailant. The foreigners, seeing the destruction, fled from the island in fear.
After these events, St. Matrona dreamt of her own death. She suffered from an illness for seven days. In the seven days she advised the other nuns as a mother would advise her children. She received Holy Communion sometime before 1455. She was buried in the monastery's church, in which she had spent the greater part of her life. To honor this great saint, Miracles are said to have occurred after her death. Many people with all manner of afflictions came to the church and were cured.
In the village of Katavasis, there was a church built to honor the place where St. Matrona had first started her spiritual struggles. Later, a larger church was built and the smaller one was used as a cemetery chapel.
The Holy Monastery of St. Matrona was built by the noble Roidis in 1470 near the village of Mesa Didima. He originally intended to build a summer villa; however, St. Matrona appeared to him in a dream and instructed him to build the monastery instead. His sisters were the first two nuns to enter the monastery. The abbot of the monastery during the Turkish Occupation was the Holy Nikephoros of Chios. Nikiforos wrote the 24 Hymns of Agia Matrona. Today, four nuns dwell in the monastery. The monastery celebrates the saint's feast day on October 20 each year.