Saturday, July 22, 2017
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles
Mary Magdalene reading by Piero di Cosimo
Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene -- the "apostle to the Apostles" as she is known, for it was she that brought word of the Resurrection to the Apostles.
This Old Catholic Encyclopedia notes: "In the New Testament she is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection."
Pope St. Gregory the Great said of her: "When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: “The disciples went back home,” and it adds: “but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.” We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: 'Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.'" (From the Catholic Saints Info Page, linked below).
Her relics are associated with the Abbey of Vezelay, in France, pictured above.
The official website of the abbey cane by found here: La basilique de Vezelay
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Mary Magdalene
Catholic Saints Info: St. Mary Magdalene
This site, in particular, has information on customs associated with this feast:
Fisheaters: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
Last year, Pope Francis changed the status of the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to that of a full feast in the ordinary calendar: Vatican Radio: 10 June 2016: Commemoration of St. Mary Magdalene raised to a feast