St. Mary Magdalene, The Penitent …

… Today is the memorial of my patron saint, St. Mary Magdalene.

When I was being confirmed some people assumed my choosing her implied we shared a scandalous unseemly past.

“Oh, you’ve taken the reformed prostitute as your patron saint, eh? That’s, um, interesting.”

No. I have taken The Penitent as my patron saint.

The feast of St. Mary Magdalene is considered one of the most mystical of feasts, and it is said that of all the songs of the saints, that of Mary Magdalene is the sweetest and strongest because her love was so great. That love was praised by Jesus Himself who said that because much was forgiven her, she loved much. Where she is buried, no one knows. Legend has her dying in Provence, France, in a cavern where she spent her last days, and her body resting in the chapel of St. Maximin in the Maritime Alps. Another has her buried in Ephesus where she went with St. John after the Resurrection. This latter view is more likely, and St. Willibald, the English pilgrim to the Holy Land in the eighth century, was shown her tomb there.

She was the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus, His most ardent and loving follower. She had stood with Mary at the foot of the Cross on that brutal Good Friday afternoon and had been by the side of Mary during these difficult hours. On Easter morning, she went with the other women to the tomb and it was there, in the garden near the tomb, that Jesus appeared to her. It was she who brought the news of the Resurrection to the Apostles, and Peter and John raced to the tomb to see what had happened. [source]

And because I find everything about her life a stunningly beautiful example of love and forgiveness, please enjoy these stunningly beautiful representations of the Magdalene.

Carlo Dolci
Caravaggio
Domenico Fetti
Franz Anton Maulbertsch
Giambattista Pittoni
Guido Reni
Piero Di Cosimo
Simon Vouet
Vecellio Tiziano
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