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Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
  • Century: 15th, 16th
  • Patronage: Sickness, Bodily Ills, Sexual Temptation
  • Feast Day: May 25th

Being born into one of the wealthiest and most distinguished familes – Pazzi, St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi was born in 1566.  She only lived to be 41, and was a mystic.  Her baptismal name was Catherine, and she experienced her first ecstasy when she was only twelve in the presence of her mother. 

St. Mary Magdalene continued to witness many varied mystical experiences.  She was sent to the convent at age 14, but was returned home by her family, as they opposed her religious vocation and wanted her to marry a distinguished man.  However in time, they eventually conceded and Catherine became a Carmelite Nun of the Ancient Observance at age 16.  She took the name of Sister Mary Magdalene at the Carmelite Convent. 

One would think that her ecstasies would have made her a saint, but she had a lifelong struggle to show love and gratitude to God, who gave her those graces.  In fact, Mary Magdalene saw her exctasies as evidence of a great fault in her, not a reward for holinesss.  She told her fellow Sisters that God did not give her the same graces “because she didn’t need them in order to serve him”.  In her eyes, God gave these gifts to those who were too weak to become holy otherwise.  Simply receiving these gifts from God, proved in her mind, just how unworthy she really was. 

What a great lessen here if we look at some underlying facts; Mary Magdalene walked away from one of the wealthiest families of her time – denouncing the world to embrace the spiritual.  She abandoned the world, to unite with God.  Also her heroic outlook of the gift of ecstasy shows the deep level of “humilty” that she had.  

St. Mary Magdalene’s life of love, prayer, penance, charity for the poor, and an evengelical spirit can be a great example for us today in our practical lives.  With the year of the “New Evangelization” coming, we can use the same spirit that St. Mary Magdalene was aspired to, to guide us.  Using her great example of these virtues we could each easily apply unconditional love, more prayer, penance, charity for the poor around us, and an evangelical spirit to particpate in the New Evangelization the Holy Father is calling for.  Each one of us, by using her life as an example – and applying these practices in our life, can make the world a better place for all. 

If only a humble heart can be happy, and a happy heart can be with God, then we can certainly look at the life of St. Mary Magdalene and see just how important it is for us to be humble.  A great example of a saint for our time!