St. Mary Magdelene
"The Penitent"



She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the name 'Magdalen' because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her culture and manners were those of a Gentile. St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords' Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, 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.

More about this saint: St. Mary Magdalen (Feast day - July 22) Mary Magdalen was well known as a sinner when she first saw Our Lord. She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life. When Jesus went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon, Mary came to weep at His feet. Then with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume. Some people were surprised that Jesus 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." Then to Mary He said kindly, "Your faith has made you safe; go in peace." From then on, with the other holy women, Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles. When Our Lord was crucified, she was there at the foot of His cross, unafraid for herself, and thinking only 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 gardener, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken. But then the person spoke in a voice she knew so well: "Mary!" It was Jesus, risen from the dead! He had chosen to show Himself first to Mary Magdalen, the repentent sinner.

The Rosary of St. Mary Magdalene  in Seven Mysteries

For Prayer with the Franciscan Crown

A pilgrimage of liberation and enlightenment

General Instructions for  the Rosary of Mary Magdalene

Begin by having an intention in mind for the rosary. Then begin with:

 

The Sign of the Cross

Holding the cross in the right hand (if right handed), with the rest of the rosary in the left hand, bless yourself with the Invocation:


      +In the Name of God, the Living One, Word, and Spirit.  Amen. 

 

Opening Prayer

What binds us is slain, what surrounds us is destroyed, all desire is gone, ignorance is dead.  We are free to remember eternity.  We shall rest in Silence for all ages and aeons.  Amen. 

 

On the first bead after the cross say the "Our Father":  Many people prefer to use an alternative prayer to affirm that God is beyond all gender: 

 

     Our Mother, with us on earth, holy is your name, your true reign come, your will be done, within us as it is within you.   Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those whose sins have oppressed us, and lead us not into confusion, but enlighten us with your wisdom.  Amen. 

 

      On the next three beads say the "AVE MARIA":
      Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

 

After the third AVE MARIA hold the chain and say the GLORIA PATRI:
     Glory to you, O God, Living One, Word, and Spirit.  Now, and for all ages and aeons. Amen.  

     Some may want to substitute the traditional prayer:  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is how and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Name the mystery and read the thoughts and prayer that follow each one. Begin with the DO NOT WEEP: on the bead just before the medal and THE SAVIOR HAS MADE ME WORTHY on the next ten beads following the medal. On the chain following these ten beads, say the GLORIA PATRI...with the BLESSED are you...Then, name the next mystery and proceed as above until all the mysteries have been said End with the closing prayer and novena.

Opening Prayer
 
What binds us is slain, what surrounds us is destroyed, all desire is gone, ignorance is dead.  We are free to remember eternity.  We shall rest in silence for all ages and aeons.  Amen
 
Prayer of Levi
Pray on the large bead:
Do not weep and do not grieve, The Savior's grace is with you.  Let us praise the One who made us truly human. Amen. 
 
Prayer of Mary Magdalene
Pray on the ten beads of each decade
The Savior has made me worthy,
and knows me very well. 
Jesus loves me beyond all measure.  I drink from the stream of Living Water. 
I have seen the Lord. Amen.
 
Gloria Patri
Glory to you, O God, Living One, Word, and Spirit, now and for all ages and aeons.  Amen.  Blessed are you that did not waver at the sight of me, for where your mind is, there is your treasure.  Amen. 
 
First Mystery:
The journey from darkness to LIGHT.
  
 

Afterward Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the reign of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.  Luke 8:1-3

Prayer: O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may we receive the grace to relinquish our illnesses and infirmities, begin our journey out of darkness towards the dawn, and open ourselves to the light of God, that we may be enlightened and raised to new life and consciousness.  Amen.

On the large bead:  Do not weep

On the ten beads:  The Savior has made me worthy

On the chain:  Glory to you...Blessed are you


Second Mystery:
The journey from desire to non-attachment
    

I am dark but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Salma.  Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has burned me.  My brothers have been angry with me; they charged me with the care of the vineyard; my own vineyard I have not cared for.   Song of Songs 1:4-5

Prayer: O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, help us follow the inner path of abandonment and non-attachment, that we may ascend with Jesus to a new awareness of love and so better serve others in the vineyard of the Lord.   Amen.

 

Third Mystery:

The journey from ignorance to knowledge

 

     As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me. The Lord said to her in reply, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her  Luke 10:38-42
 

Prayer: O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene,  who learned the inner knowledge at the feet of the Savior, grant that we may so fully enter the depths of our own hearts that we may discover therein the burning flame of Divine Love.  Amen. 

 

Fourth Mystery: The Journey from death into life:

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. When Jesus saw her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, Where have you laid him? They said to him, Sir, come and see. And Jesus wept.  Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! And the dead man came out.  So Jesus said, Untie him and let him go.  Jn 11:32-35; 43-44.

 

Prayer:  O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may we pass safely from the pits of despair to the gardens of life, mindful of the deep love of the Savior.  Amen.
 
Fifth Mystery:
The journey from the material to spiritual
 
And as Mary wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, and they said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him. Then she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. He said to her, Why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She thought it was the gardener and said to him, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him. Jesus said to her, Mary! She turned and said to him in Hebrew, Rabbouni, which means Teacher. Jn 20:11-16

 

Prayer:  O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene,  whose heart was cleansed and opened by Jesus, help us open the doors of our hearts to rise up and meet the Savior who illuminates our souls . Amen.

 

Sixth Mystery:
The journey from earthly thought to the heavenly wisdom of Holy Sophia
 
Jesus said to her, Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, Jn. 20:18

 

Prayer:  O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may we receive the grace and presence of Holy Wisdom, to raise us up from error into your heavenly realm of knowledge and light.  Amen.  

 

Seventh Mystery:
The journey from wrath and self-will to the Love of Christ-Sophia

 
Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth.  More delightful is your love than wine.  Your name spoken is a spreading perfume, that is why the maidens love you.  Draw me!   Song of Songs 1:2-4

 

Prayer:  O God, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may we be anointed with the gift of spiritual love which is wine and fragrance, and may the name of the Savior spoken with love be a spreading perfume which draws us to the royal banquet, for the nourishment, healing, and liberation of all humanity.  Amen.     

Closing Prayer

What binds us is slain, what surrounds us is destroyed, all desire is gone, ignorance is dead.  We are free to remember eternity.  We shall rest in silence for all ages and aeons.  Amen.


Novena to St Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene accompanied Jesus through much of his ministry. We do not know how long, but her experience of being "freed from seven demons" turned her life around and she became a devoted follower. When most of the disciples fled into hiding, she was one of the few who followed Jesus to Calvary. She witnessed the horror of his death - the blood and water flowing from his side - and the burial and sealing of the tomb. She knew the reality of his death and burial.
Her devotion took her back to the tomb in the company of other women. The Gospel accounts differ in the details but in John's, Mary's love for Jesus makes her unable to leave the tomb. Her Lord is dead - the loss of his body the ultimate catastrophe ... but through her, Jesus was going to tell the apostles and ultimately the whole world the great truth that he had conquered death and was risen to new life.
We invite her to walk with us - reflecting on the first Easter morning when death gave way to newness of life - despair was healed by hope - and the embryonic Church looked to new horizons which would take it to the ends of the earth and far into a future it could not have imagined...
We are part of that future and take our place in the great unfolding of the life of the Church, praying and discerning how we announce the Good News of Jesus' life, death and resurrection to the people of the twenty-first century and hand on the rich legacy of our faith into a future we cannot imagine.
The Novena nine days of prayer could fill the Easter Octave (and a little beyond!) or the period from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost the nine days leading to the Feast of Mary Magdalene (22 July) or any time when a time of reflection and prayer about a decision might be helpful. It is suitable for personal use but could profitably be used in a small group.
Each day for nine days, we will take two verses from John's account (20: 1-18) - use them for contemplation - and then ask for the intercession of Mary Magdalene who so obviously loved and was loved by Jesus to pray for the blessing of God and an outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit.

Day 1: The darkest hour just before dawn....

Reading
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."

Wondering
What drew Mary back to the tomb? What went through her mind as she looked into the tomb? What was going through it as she ran back to Simon Peter and the disciple Jesus loved - probably John who recorded this account of the resurrection?

Contemplating
You might like to spend a few minutes reading the Scripture passage and see if any words or phrases seem to be especially significant. How might God be speaking to you? You might like to jot down any thoughts in a spiritual journal.
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene. It can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of a film director working to recapture the atmosphere of the scene. You could even sketch out the scene. What would the scenery be like? Where do the main characters appear from? How are they behaving? Are there any "extras" - and where are they - what are they doing? Then, try to put yourself into one of the characters to see how it might have seemed to them... how might they have been feeling?

Reflecting
Of all outcomes, this was the least expected - how could the empty tomb be explained? This was beyond their experience.
How might some of the feelings of those in the Gospel be echoed in your own experience?
Pray for those for whom this time is a period of confusion and fear.


Praying
Mary of Magdala, woman at the tomb.
You did not yet know what awaited you
but felt confusion - doubt and loss.
Pray for those whose feelings you so well understand.
Guide us through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 2: Going to see for themselves

Reading
Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

Wondering
What do the people watching the disciples make of seeing two grown men running through the streets? What might have been going through the disciples' minds as they ran?

Contemplating
Spend a few minutes reading the Scripture passage and see if any words or phrases seem to be especially significant to you. What might God be saying to you - perhaps, in your own life. If you are using a spiritual journal, add any thoughts or insights.
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene. Use the film-director approach if that worked yesterday or allow the scene to build in your imagination. What new insights emerge as you contemplate this part of the story?

Reflecting
Often people will tell us something but we sense the need to go and see for ourselves. Many things go through our minds - all sorts of possibilities - we can get carried away by our imaginations.
Pray for those who may be caught up in "fearing the worst".


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
as you ran back to the tomb you knew to be empty,
your heart and mind were in turmoil.
Pray for those who fear the worst -who are troubled by what might be.
Guide us through your story to the promise that all shall be well.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 3: Waiting ... and acting ...
 
Reading
The disciple bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there.

Wondering
Why did the disciple Jesus loved wait even though he had seen the linen wrappings? What might have been going through his mind? What about Peter? What was his reaction to what he saw? What gave him the courage to go into the tomb of one who had been dead for two days

Contemplating
Spend a few minutes reading the Scripture passage and see if any words or phrases seem to be especially significant. Why might the word or phrase be important - in your own life? Make a mental note of any insights or jot down any thoughts in a spiritual journal.
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way is helpful - in the shoes of a film director - or sketching the scene. What insights do you get from the action in this part of the story? How are people reacting as it unfolds? 

Reflecting
There is a time for waiting - and a time for finding the courage to act in ways we would not have thought possible.
Pray for those for whom this is a time of waiting ... and for those for whom it is time to find the courage to do things they do not yet think they can.


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
you waited at the foot of the cross -
but found courage to return to the tomb to anoint your Lord.
Pray for those who wait - and those finding the courage to act.
Guide us all through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 4: Seeing and believing
 
Reading
Peter saw the cloth that had been on Jesus' head (was) not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.

Wondering
Why does John point out the detail about the cloth that had covered Jesus' face? How does seeing the grave clothes as they are lead him to believe - and what is he believing in at this moment - he has not yet seen the Lord?

Contemplating
Spend a few minutes reading and reflecting on the Scripture passage. What springs to mind as you ponder the words and phrases? How might these ideas feed into your own life? Jot down any thoughts in a spiritual journal. Are any threads beginning to emerge?
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene. How might a film director film the scene? What would they focus on? What kind of atmosphere would they be trying to create? How do the participants in this drama feel at this point?

Reflecting
We cannot always say what leads us to believe... quite often it is a glimpse - a moment when we recognise that there is something beyond what we can see and touch. It is this faith that sustains us through the any changes that happen in our lives.
Pray for a strengthening of faith for those who feel on the fringes or marginalised.


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
woman of faith, pray for those whose belief is tested -
who feel that they are not good enough -who feel they do not belong.
Guide us all through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...


Day 5: Faith leading to understanding
 
Reading
As yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Wondering
What was the mood of the disciples as they turned back to go home? What were their expectations about what might happen next?

Contemplating
A very short piece but continue to read it through a few times, allowing the words to sink deep within you. Are there words or insights from the passage than seem important as we pass the halfway point in our Novena,
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you find most helpful. How do the disciples take their leave of Mary? What is the "feel" of the scene at this point?

Reflecting
Faith often comes before understanding. We believe - but may have to reflect - read - contemplate - experience something differently before we move to understanding. Reflecting and learning how to make our faith yet more alive and active is for some people exciting - for others it is a challenge.
Pray for people who are excited - and those who are challenged.


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
you did not understand but you believed.
Pray for as we seek to understand more fully
what God wills for us.
Pray for those for whom this is an exciting time
and for those for whom it is difficult and challenging.
Guide us all through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 6: Staying in the dark places...

Reading
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

Wondering
What is Mary's state of mind now? What might her reaction have been to seeing the two angels?

Contemplating
As you ponder the reading, which words or phrases seem to be especially significant to you. What might God be saying to you - perhaps, for your own life and for your community. If you are using a spiritual journal, add any thoughts or insights - and perhaps look back to see if there are any links that are beginning to form.
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene using whatever technique has helped you over recent days. Try to put yourself in Mary's shoes as the scene begins to move to its fulfilment.

Reflecting
Mary is struggling to come to terms with what is happening... but still she stays in the place where things don't yet make sense. This is a feeling we can identify with ... sometimes we do need to walk away from something but on other occasions we realise we have to stay in a spiritual place until God deems it the right time to offer us the revelation that allows us to move on.
Pray for those who find themselves "stuck" - whose faith feels empty and whose prayer seems dry.


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
you still did not know what was to come -
but your love for the Lord held you by his tomb.
Pray for those who are in dark places -who feel without hope
and for whom the idea of a Pastoral Plan feels burdensome.
Guide us all through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 7: Not knowing what is to come...
 
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." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Wondering
Is Mary comforted by the words of the angels - or further confused? She turns and sees Jesus but does not yet recognise him... why not?

Contemplating
We are reaching the climax of the story - but are not there yet... Read the passage a few times and see what ideas or thoughts begin to emerge.
Make a note of your thoughts - jot them down and, if you are using the Novena in a group, prepare to receive the insights of others.
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you have found has worked for you. What fears might be within Mary at this point - and what hope against hope?

Reflecting
We who know the story know what's coming and have a feeling of anticipation - but Mary does not. We ourselves sometimes wonder: what will be asked of me? Will I like what I see and hear?
Pray for a willingness to wait to see what God is to reveal...


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
still sorrowful,even you could not at first recognise your Lord.
Guide us all through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 8: The moment of recognition...
 
Reading
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" 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."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" 
She turned and said to him, "Rabbouni!" (which means "Teacher).

Wondering
How did Jesus approach Mary? At what point did Mary recognise her Lord?

Contemplating
One of our longest pieces in the account of Mary on that first Easter morning... Read it through several times and allow any significant words or phrases to sink into your soul. Why are they important to you? Make a note of them and prepare to use them to feed into your mind and spirit.
or...Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you find most helpful.  If as a film director - enjoy the scene unfolding... if in imagination - simply enjoy!

Reflecting
Many people have moments of recognising something that holds promise and builds on the many good things that have been happening.
Pray for them - for the moment of grace which may affect the rest of their lives.


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
your moment of recognition echoes down the centuries
as we learn to recognise our Lord in Word and Communion.
Pray for those experiencing such a moment of recognising
something founded on the rich legacy of faith and love of countless millions
of believers around the world. Pray too for those who contributed to its development.
Guide us all through your story to the hope of resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

Day 9: Go and tell...
 
Reading
Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go and tell my disciples and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Wondering
It seems a little of the story has been missed out... what might Mary's reaction have been that caused Jesus to tell her not to cling to him? What about when she is sent to the disciples? And what of their reaction?

Contemplating
Read the passage a few times and see what ideas or thoughts emerge. Look back over your journal or take a mental trip back over the last nine days. Read the whole story - reminding yourself of the thoughts that accompanied it....
Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you have found has worked for you.  Allow the scene to play out in your mind. How do the feelings change?

Reflecting
We are people, like Mary, with a mission - to tell people what we have seen - what we have heard - what we believe...
Pray that we may live faithfully the command to go and tell...


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
woman of the resurrection.Pray for us as we too go and tell what we know -
that Jesus is alive and at work through us.
Guide us all through your story teach us to live always in the light of the resurrection.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

REFLECTION.-"Compunction of heart," says St. Bernard, "is a treasure infinitely to be desired, and an unspeakable gladness to the heart. It is healing to the soul ; it is remission of sins ; it brings back again the Holy Spirit into the humble and loving heart."

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Mary Magdalene to intercede for us today that we may turn completely away from ours sins with deep and true sorrow.

May the prayers of blessed Mary Magdalene help us, O Lord, for it was in answer to them
that Thou didst call her brother Lazarus, our days after death, back from the grave to life,
Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, Unity in Trinity, world without end.
Amen.



Contrary to the social customs of his time, Jesus spent much time alone with women, and treated them equally among his followers.  He empowered women to be his witnesses equally with men.  Such radical social change was not sustained by ancient society and Jesus practices were not continued by the historical church.  The witness of Mary Magdalene has only been recovered in modern times.  Her feast day is July 22. 


St. Mary Magdalene is known as the Apostola Apostolorum the Apostle of the Apostles because of her role in the accounts of the events surrounding the Resurrection. As Dominicans we seek to imitate her great faith and zeal in proclaiming the Good News of the Lord. Yet, a further connection can be established that links this saint, regarded as a patroness of the Order, to the Dominican family.

In the thirteenth century, great efforts were put forth in France, Italy, and Germany to convert women who led sinful lives. When such conversions were made, bishops grouped these women together into communities who took St. Mary Magdalene as their patroness. In Germany, these communities of women were given the Constitutionsof the Dominican Nuns and incorporated into the Dominican Order.

In 1286, Charles II turned the Dominican Order toward devotion to St. Mary Magdalene. In 1297, the feast of St. Mary Magdalene was celebrated with solemnity throughout the Order, as the General Chapter of Bologna had recommended.

Why Mary Magdalene? Dominicans strive to be apostles, preaching the gospel of Christ, and so draw their inspiration from she who was so closely associated with Christ and the early history of the Order. Further, it seems that St. Mary Magdalene, in tradition and in literature, is constantly endowed with three characteristics: she is the converted sinner, she is the contemplative soul and she is the herald of the Resurrection. These characteristics powerfully describe the preaching office and thus our Dominican life. How can one speak of the mercy of God if one has not experienced it oneself? How can one speak of God without speaking with God?

The life of St. Mary Magdalene as portrayed in the four Gospels serves as a model and a reminder not only for Dominicans, but also for all Christians, that to be fruitful apostles we must first be faithful disciples. In order to hear the call of Christ and follow it unreservedly, we must undergo a conversion of heart. As a sinner-turned-saint, Mary Magdalene's life testifies that allowing the reality of our sinfulness to keep us from our vocation to follow Christ is a mistake. We see in this woman that Jesus calls, that Jesus heals, that Jesus brings the true freedom which enables her to embrace her vocation to holiness. We are inspired to embrace Him in that same freedom.

The interior freedom won for us by Christ leads to the freedom of self-giving. St. Luke counts Mary Magdalene among those who provided for Jesus out of her means (cf. Luke 8:3). St. Mary Magdalene shows us that the only proper response to the limitless love of Christ is to love without limit in return. She places every gift at the service of Christ and His Kingdom, returning love for love.




LITANY IN HONOUR OF
SAINT MARY MAGDALENE
(State your prayer request to Saint Mary Magdalene)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.  Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us.

Saint Mary Magdalene,
pray for us.

Sister of Martha and Lazarus,
pray for us.

Thou who didst enter the Pharisee's house
to anoint the feet of Jesus,
pray for us.

Who didst wash His feet with thy tears,
pray for us.

Who didst dry them with thy hair,
pray for us.

Who didst cover them with kisses,
pray for us.

Who wast vindicated by Jesus before the proud Pharisee,
pray for us.

Who from Jesus received the pardon of thy sins,
pray for us.

Who before darkness wast restored to light,
pray for us.

Mirror of penance,
pray for us.

Disciple of Our Lord,
pray for us.

Wounded with the love of Christ,
pray for us.

Most dear to the Heart of Jesus,
pray for us.

Constant woman,
pray for us.

Last at the Cross of Jesus, first at His tomb,
pray for us.

Thou who wast the first to see Jesus risen,
pray for us.

Whose forehead was sanctified by the touch of thy risen Master,
pray for us.

Apostle of apostles,
pray for us.

Who didst choose the "better part,"
pray for us.

Who lived for many years in solitude being miraculously fed,
pray for us.

Who wast visited by angels seven times a day,
pray for us.

Sweet advocate of sinners, Spouse of the King of Glory,
pray for us.

V.  Saint Mary Magdalene,
    earnestly intercede for us with thy Divine Master,
R.  That we may share thy happiness in Heaven.

Let Us Pray

May the glorious merits of blessed Mary Magdalene,
we beseech Thee, O Lord,
make our offerings acceptable to Thee,
for Thine only-begotten Son
vouchsafed graciously to accept the humble service she rendered. 
We ask this through Him
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
and the Holy Ghost,
God forever and ever.

Amen.


 

We praise the Good Lord for the wondrous works he has performed in this world.  His ways are truly mysterious, wonderful and awe-inspiring. 

A woman of many sins, Mary Magdalene's soul had been touched at the house of Simon the Pharisee.  The beautiful courtesan weeps at the feet of Jesus as she anoints Him with her tears of sorrow and the fragrant ointment.  Jesus looks at her lovingly, "Go in peace," He says, "your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you." (Luke 7:36-50)  Jesus anointed Mary Magdalene with the message of Peace.  Mary Magdalene had these words indelibly written on her heart as she followed Jesus throughout his ministry.

Three years later, our Lord is crucified, and we find Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross, with His mother Mary, and the beloved disciple John.  She hears the last words of Christ, is present at His burial, and witnesses His Resurrection.  All this has been faithfully recorded in the gospel so that we may remember and venerate Saint Mary Magdalene.

From the Acts of the Apostles, we believe she witnesses the Ascension of our Lord on Mount Olive, and is in the Cenacle at Pentecost.   For the next twelve years, she accompanies and shares the lot of the Apostles.   Then, during the persecution of the Christians, according to oral tradition, she leaves Palestine with Martha, Lazarus and several disciples.  The little group of pilgrims crosses the Mediterranean in a small boat and lands in France.  They come ashore in a port near Marseilles, and Lazarus remains there.  Martha travels inland and her saintly remains are now in Tarascon.  The family of Christ, on pilgrims' feet, has come to preach the Gospel of Peace!

Mary Magdalene adopts a contemplative life, and lives in peace in the hills of La Saint Baume, about 40 miles northeast of Marseille, where she spent the remainder of her life.  Some of her companions were Maximin, Sidonius, Suzanna and Marcella, who helped to Christianize those parts of ancient France.

Mary Magdalene died around the year 75 and was buried by Maximin in the crypt of his chapel in Villalata, later renamed St. Maximin.   Between the third and fourth century, her body was placed in a magnificent white marble tomb, and remained therein until the year 710.  The Cassian Monks had founded their Monastery in St. Maximin in 415 and were the guardians of the Magdalene relics.   But when the Saracens invaded France, destroying all Christian symbols, the Monks transferred the relics to a more modest tomb for safety reasons.  Before fleeing, they completely buried the tomb and their chapel.  When the invaders left in 973, nothing could be found of the relics, though many searches were made.

On December 9, 1279, Charles, nephew of King Louis IX of France (who was canonized as St. Louis) finally uncovered the remains of St. Mary Magdalene.  The transfer of the remains was made to the crypt on May 5, 1280.   On July 22, the Feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, her relics were taken in procession through the streets of St. Maximin to the joy of pilgrims.  This was the beginning of hundreds of years and thousands of pilgrims paying homage to Saint Mary Magdalene, the beloved of Christ, apostle to the apostles, patron of lovers, and bearer of Peace.

Father Bernard, OP, describes this holy place:

"During the many years of my priesthood in the Dominican Order, my eyes have been able to contemplate the delicate head of Mary Magdalene which is visible behind the screen in the Crypt in St. Maximin.  I am not speaking of a veil, or a  statue, or some work of art, but the true head of Mary Magdalene.  And each  time I pray in the Crypt, I remember that this is the woman who shared the Ministry of Christ, who walked and talked with Him, heard Him preach, felt His touch, stirred His heart, and saw Him die.   And above all, the one who first  saw our Lord risen from the dead.   Here, too, in the Crypt stands her white   marble tomb, the tombs of her companions, and reliquaries containing other precious remains, including strands of her hair."

 

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