Saint of the Day
St. Mary Magdalene
On July 22, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Mary
Magdelene, one of the most prominent women mentioned in the New
Her name comes from the town of Magdala in Galilee, where she
originated. Scripture introduces her as a woman â€œwho had been healed of
evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven
demons had gone outâ€� (Lk. 8:2).
Some scholars identify Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman who
anointed the feet of Christ with oil in the house of Simon the Pharisee
(Lk. 7:36-50). Others associate her with Mary, the sister of Martha and
Lazarus (Lk. 10:38-42, Jn. 11). Some believe the three figures to be one
person, while others believe them to be three distinct individuals.
What the Scriptures make certain about Mary Magdalene is that she was
a follower of Christ, who accompanied and ministered to him (Lk.
8:2-3). The Gospels record her as being one of the women present at
In addition, she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection.
The Gospels all describe Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on Easter
morning. When she saw that the tomb was empty, she stood outside,
weeping. Jesus appeared to her and asked her, â€œWoman, why are you
weeping? Whom are you looking for?â€� (Jn. 20:15)
She did not recognize him, however, and thought he was the gardener,
until he said her name, â€œMary!â€� (Jn. 20:16) Upon hearing this, Mary
recognized him. She returned to the grieving disciples to announce to
them the message of the Resurrection.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Mary Magdalene in his address before
the Angelus on July 23, 2006. He referred to her as â€œa disciple of the
Lord who plays a lead role in the Gospels.â€�
The Pope recalled Mary Magdaleneâ€™s presence â€œbeneath the Crossâ€� on
Good Friday, as well as how â€œshe was to be the one to discover the empty
tombâ€� on Easter morning.
â€œThe story of Mary of Magdala reminds us all of a fundamental truth,â€�
Pope Benedict said. â€œA disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience
of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been
healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a
witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and