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Immacolata Jul 22, '13 12:20 pm

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Today (July 22nd in the United States) is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the patron of women, reformed prostitutes, and penitent sinners.

Mary Magdalene is mentioned firstly in the Gospel of Mark:

In a homily from the 6th century, Pope Gregory I says:


She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? - Pope Gregory I, Homily XXXIII
Thereafter, Mary Magdalene had been thought of as a repentant sinner (a prevalent explanation being repentant of lust and vanity) for millennia. Mary Magdalene has also been conflated with the sinful woman anointing Jesus' feet in the Gospel of Luke:

However, this, in recent years (as with Pope Gregory's conclusion), has shown to be a case of mistaken identity, and some now consider Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman as separate persons, and yet others consider Mary Magdalene as Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (the latter of whom Jesus raised from the dead), who sat at Jesus' feet and listened as Martha worked:

Nevertheless, despite the confusion of her identity, Mary Magdalene is considered the second-most important woman of the New Testament following Our Lady, due to her privilege of witnessing the Lord after His Resurrection:

Due to her revealing Jesus' Resurrection to the Apostles, Mary Magdalene has been referred to as the Apostle of Apostles:


Hence she came to be called "the apostle of the Apostles". Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness of the Risen Christ, and for this reason she was also the first to bear witness to him before the Apostles. - Pope John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem
Mary Magdalene's life following the Resurrection is unknown; in southern French tradition, Mary, her brother Lazarus (using the conflation of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene), as well as several companions, were expelled from the Holy Land and landed in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the south of France. Afterward, Mary traveled to Marseille, in which she lived on a hill (La Sainte-Baume), and, as tradition (within this area) holds, that before her death, Mary traveled by angels to Aix-en-Provence, in which she received viaticum at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, and thereafter died; it is said (by the cultus of Mary Magdalene in Aix-en-Provence) that her remains are held within this church. Discovery of her remains was in 1279, and the basilica of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume finished in 1532. Her relics were destroyed (along with the church) during the French Revolution, and following the Revolution, the church was built anew, with her skull (the surviving relic) being placed within the reliquary.

Others say Mary Magdalene retired to Ephesus; seven centuries before the discovery of her remains within Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume (in the 6th century), Gregory of Tours wrote that Mary Magdalene had retired there, and made no mention of her living in France.

In conclusion, the life of St. Mary Magdalene is shrouded in mystery; despite her mysteriousness, we shall all learn from her love for Our Lord, the great love she shew with her sorrow at His Resurrection before His appearance before her. May we all pray to her, that we may experience this love for the Lord, whether it be the love of a repentant sinner or the love of a faithful sufferer.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

CrispSnowflake Jul 22, '13 2:00 pm

Re: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Excellent! Thank you for your post! :harp:

TempleofTheSoul Jul 22, '13 8:46 pm

Re: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Thank you so much for this great reminder of the feast of this great saint. I try to look at the Catholic calendar regularly but her feast day today just flew over my head. Thanks to you I was able to ask her intercession on this her feast day most especially.

Thanks again and God bless you.

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