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Saint Mary Magdalen

Saint Mary Magdalen
  • Century: 1st Century
  • Patronage: Converts, Glove Makers, Hairdressers, Penitent Sinners, Perfumeries, Pharmacists, Sexual Temptation
  • Feast Day: July 22nd

St. Mary Magdalen is known as the “Penitent”.  St. Mary was given the name Magdalen because as a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee.  Her culture and manners were those of a Gentile.  If you recall in the Gospel of St. Luke, she was a sinner, and even had seven devils removed from her.  She was also present at Our Lord’s Crucifixion.  With Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, she was also at Jesus’ empty tomb.   

Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars, along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius (the man born blind), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin.  They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume.  She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by Angels as her only food, and died when she was 72.  St. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the Chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last Sacraments.  

Mary Magdalen was a well known sinner, and when she first saw our Lord, she was very beautiful and proud.  But, after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life.  She wept at the feet of Jesus when he went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon.  Then, with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume.  Many people were surprised that Jesus would let such a sinner touch Him, but our Lord could see into Mary’s heart, and He said, “Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much”.  He also said to Mary, “your faith has made you safe; go in peace”.  From that moment on, Mary, along with the other Holy women, humbly served Jesus and His Apostles.    

When Jesus was crucified, she was there at the foot of the cross, unafraid for herself and only thinking of His sufferings.  No wonder Jesus said of her, “She has loved much”.  After Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, Mary went to anoint it with spices early Easter Sunday morning.  Not finding the Sacred Body, she began to weep, and seeing someone whom she thought was the gardner, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken.  But, that person spoke in a voice she knew so well, “Mary!”  It was Jesus, risen from the dead, and he had chosen to show Himself first to Mary Magdalen, the repentent sinner.  

Practical Take Away

We learn that true forgiveness is at our reach, if only we are repentant.  Mary was known well by the village people as being a sinner.  But, with only one encounter with Jesus, she had a conversion that lasted the rest of her life, and she merited eternal life.  We too, can have that encounter with Jesus – all we have to do is ask.  He too, will help us with a conversion that will last and lead us to eternal life.  Call upon her on her Feast Day, or upon her anytime.  She is Patron Saint of many things.  She is always there to help if we only seek her intercession.