the Mother of God
husband of Mary
fisherman and foundation
whom Jesus loved
Text by Victor
Mary Magdalene in the Middle Ages
to an 11th century French legend, Mary Magdelene was among a group of
disciples sent by St. Peter to bring the word of God to faraway peoples.
Her companions were Lazarus and Martha of Bethany, the two other Marys
mentioned in the Gospels, and St. Maximin, one of Jesus' 72 disciples.
Captured by unbelievers, they were thrown into a ship without rudder
and set adrift at sea to drown. But God guided the ship to the port
of Marseilles, France. There, Mary spoke of Christ to the people.
were amazed," says the Golden Legend, "not only because of
her beauty but also her eloquence. Yet how could she not be eloquent
since her lips had touched the Lord's feet?"
in bringing the ruler and the people of that land to the Christian faith,
the legend continues. Churches, like Les Saintes Maries de la Mer (The
Holy Marys of the Sea) were built to commemorate the coming of these
apostles from Palestine.
Mary is said
to have always carried with her a vase containing the remainder of the
nard with which she anointed Jesus - she is often pictured in art with
see sculpture at right
Legend says she spent the rest of her life in prayer at a spot
which now bears the name of the relic she carried: La Sainte Baume -
and that she was buried there. The church at Vezelay in Burgundy, claiming
to have her relics, became a favorite pilgrimage place in the 11th century.
Her name is popular everywhere in France and the rest of Europe.
- Mary Magdalene,
sculpture by Pedro de Mena,