Patron of Contemplatives
Much mystery and romance shroud the legend of Mary Magdalene, overshadowing her very significant role as a witness to the central events in the Christian faith. According to some accounts, Mary Magdalene appears as a noble and wealthy Jewish woman from Magdala in Galilee and sister of Martha and Lazarus. She lives a highly extravagant life before converting to the teachings of Jesus Christ, who helps dispel both her vanity and pride. Beautiful and proud she wept at the feet of Jesus, anointing Him with expensive perfume from an alabaster box of ointment, washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her long beautiful hair. Viewed by some as the Apostle’s Apostle, she was the first to witness the Resurrection of Christ, after coming to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ dead body with sweet spices. Under direction from Jesus, she spreads the word to the other apostles. As a deeply faithful disciple, she perseveres, when other male disciples abandon Christ, by leading the group of women who witness the Crucifixion, burial, empty tomb and Resurrection. In addition to witness, she also serves as preacher, healer and contemplative. 14 years after the Crucifixion she arrives by boat to the shores of Gaul, now France, where she evangelizes the region before retiring to a grotto in the St. Baume mountain range, to live a life of solitary contemplation for 30 years.