Saint Mary Magdalene Saint Mary Magdalene Saint Mary Magdalene



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Text by Victor Hoagland, C.P.

"Mary, called Magdalene"

SpacerThe Gospels often describe the women who accompanied Jesus in terms of their husbands or children: "Johanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza", "Mary, the mother of James". A woman depended entirely in those days on her father or her husband for almost everything. Map - MagdalaShe was a supporting player in a man's world. Her principal role was to bear and rear children and care for the home. Mary Magdalene is described by the town where she lived, Magdala. It was the largest town along the Lake of Galilee next to Tiberias, where King Herod had his summer palace. Magdala was a thriving fishing port, selling its famous salted fish throughout Palestine and the Greek cities beyond. Five miles north was Capernaum where much of Jesus' ministry took place.

Alone and Troubled

SpacerAs far as we know, Mary had no husband or children, so to many people she had achieved little in life. According to the Gospels, Mary was a woman beset by tragedy and unhappiness: she was possessed by seven devils. That seems to mean she was troubled in mind, in body and spirit. Perhaps her health was bad, like the woman Jesus also healed, whose doctors could not cure her chronic issue of blood. Or perhaps she suffered in soul, like the woman whose life had been ruined by immorality. Perhaps she had mental problems.

SpacerWhatever her dark secrets, Mary was unhappy, - so unhappy she could hardly go on. She had wealth, but wealth could not remove the sorrow that followed her everywhere.



At left: old map of towns around the Sea of Galilee; Magdala is at red dot; Caphernaum is at yellow dot.


See larger map
of some areas in Palestine at the time - 154 K

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