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St. Mary Magdalene

July 22nd
First Century

About St. Mary Magdalene

If we only think of St. Mary Magdalene as a historical figure, then the importance of her life will be missed entirely. She is not simply a character from the bible or a just saint from the early Church; St. Mary Magdalene is the chosen example of God’s boundless love and mercy. What Christ did for Mary Magdalene in the past, is what He wants to do for us today. The radical offer of forgiveness extended to St. Mary Magdalene then, is wants He to offer to us now. St. Therese of Lisieux understood this truth and, inspired by St. Mary Magdalen’s example, wrote,

"Even if I had all the crimes possible on my conscience, I am sure I should lose none of my confidence. Heartbroken with repentance, I would simply throw myself into my Savior’s arms, for I know how much he loves the prodigal son. I have heard what he said to Mary Magdalene… I know that, in the twinkling of an eye, all those thousands of sins would be consumed as a drop of water cast into a blazing fire." (Story of a Soul, p.154)

Before her conversion, St. Mary Magdalene lived an openly scandalous, possibly as an adulteress or prostitute. She was so entirely consumed by sin, that seven devils were cast out of her. Nevertheless, through her encounter with Christ, she was flooded with grace and in an instant she was transformed. How clearly she saw the wickedness of sin! How clearly she saw the goodness of God! Entering into the house of Simon the Pharisee, St. Mary Magdalene thought nothing of the scorn and reproaches she would receive. Moved by love and sorrow for her sins, St. Mary Magdalen thought only of being reconciled to God.

Though the Pharisee judged her, Christ defended saying, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much” (Luke 7:44-47).

After her conversion, St. Mary Magdalen became a disciple of the Lord, always remaining close to him. She was praised for choosing the “better part” and sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to Him. Even during Christ’s passion, St. Mary Magdalen remained with Him. Although the apostles had abandoned him, she stood at the foot of the cross and wept for her sins. She was unwilling to leave Him in even after His death. Early Sunday morning, St. Mary Magdalene was the first at the tomb and the first one Christ appeared after His Resurrection.

After the Ascension, nothing is certain of her life. There is a Greek tradition that St. Mary Magdalene went to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary and was buried there. Yet, there is a competing tradition that St. Mary Magdalene lived the last thirty years of her life in a cave at La Sainte-Baume, France, doing penance for her sins. Regardless of her resting place, her example of penance has been the inspiration for countless conversions. St. Mary Magdalene remains a favorite saint and will continue to be a favorite, as she helps us to understand the incomprehensible love of God. Just as Christ received a repentant Mary Magdalen with unimaginable love and kindness, Christ wants to receive us with that same love and kindness, as long as we are willing to turn to Him and turn away from sin.

Patronage Types

Activities Patron of Contemplative Life
Character and Virtue Patron of Converts
Patron of Penitent Sinners
Family Life Patron of Women
Occupation Patron of Tanners
Patron of Pharmacists
Patron of Hairdressers
Patron of Hair Stylists
Patron of Glove Makers
Patron of Perfumers
Personal Struggles Patron of those Ridiculed for Their Piety
Patron Against Impure Temptations
Patron of Reformed Prostitutes
Patron of Penitent Women