Saint Mary Magdalene Saint Mary Magdalene Saint Mary Magdalene


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the Mother of God

husband of Mary

fisherman and foundation

the disciple
whom Jesus loved

Text by Victor Hoagland, C.P.

A Strong Influence on Art of the Middle Ages

SpacerMary Magdalene had a strong influence on the Christian imagination of the Middle Ages: in art, drama, poetry and spirituality. She was presumed to be a beautiful woman, whose warm human heart was transformed by her love for Jesus; a sinner who became a favorite of God. All Christians, both saintly and otherwise, looked to her as a model of what a friend and disciple of Jesus should be. The Golden Legend, a popular collection of stories of the saints, describes her relationship to Christ in detail. sidebar at right

SpacerFascinated by her story, medieval spiritual writers added simple human details to the Gospel accounts. According to the author of the Meditations on the Life of Christ, Mary held the feet of Jesus when he was taken down from the cross, because she had kissed them and washed them with her tears once before.

Spacer"(At the tomb) she could not think, or speak, or hear anything except about him. When she cried and paid no attention to the angels, her Lord could not hold back any longer for love... 'Woman, whom do you seek? Why do you weep?' And she, as if drugged, not recognizing him said, 'Lord, if you carried him away, tell me where, and I will take him.' "Look at her. With tear-stained face she begs him to lead her to the one seeks. She always hopes to hear something new of her Beloved. Then the Lord says to her, 'Mary'.

Spacer"It was as though she came back to life, and recognizing his voice, she said with indescribable joy, 'Rabbi, you are the Lord I was seeking. Why did you hide from me so long? ...I tell you so much grief from your passion filled my heart that I forgot everything else. I could remember nothing except your dead body and the place where I buried it, and so I brought ointment this morning. But you have come back to us.'

Spacer"And they stayed there lovingly with great joy and gladness. She looked at him closely and asked him about each thing, and he answered willingly. Now, truly, the Passover feast had come. Although it seemed that the Lord held back from her, I can hardly believe that she did not touch him before he departed, kissing his feet and his hands."


The Golden Legend

"(After she met Jesus) there was no grace he refused her, no sign of affection he withheld from her. He drove seven devils out of her, admitted her to his friendship, came to dwell in her house, and defended her when it was needed. He defended her before the Pharisee who accused her of being unclean; before her sister Martha, who called her idle, and before Judas, who criticised her generosity. And Jesus could not see her in tears without weeping.

"For love of her he restored her brother to life after he had been dead for four days. He cured Martha of an issue of blood which she had suffered for seven years. To her the risen Jesus appeared first, and made her an apostle to the apostles."

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