Saint Mary Magdalene is “the one who loved Christ and who was loved by Him” and in her honor the “paradigm of the ministry of women in the Church” is recognized. These are the words of Pope Francis celebrating Saint Mary Magdalene’s July 22 Feast Day.
But who was this Mary? Where did all the distortions of her life originate? Why did the Dominicans choose her as the patron of their Order? Together, we will search the Scriptures for her historical footprint and for gender criticism of her story. We will conclude with a short prayer in her honor. Please bring a Bible with you.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[a] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20: 11-18)
DID YOU KNOW?: In 1295, the Dominican Order was given care of the Shrine of St. Mary Magdalene at Le Sainte Baum (the Holy Cave), in southeastern France. Because she carried the news of the Resurrection to the apostles, she was referred to as the “Apostle of the Apostles,” and from the beginnings of the Dominican Order, she was proclaimed co-patroness of the newly founded apostolic Order of Friars Preachers. St Catherine of Alexandria is also named the co-patroness with St. Mary Magdalene.