Little is known for certain about the life of St. Mary Magdalene.
But what we do know is fascinating.
She is believed to have been born in the town of Magdala in Galilee, hence the name “Magdalene.”
Mary Magdalene is one of the most honored women in Sacred Scripture. Some theologians call her the “Apostle to the Apostles” because she was one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection, the news of which she immediately announced to the Apostles.
Mary Magdalene is a patron saint of converts because, according to the Gospels, she was originally a great sinner; but after Jesus cast seven demons out of her, she repented and convinced several other women to join her in following Jesus.
It is believed that Mary Magdalene, along with other holy women, served Jesus’ ministry throughout the Gospels. It is likely that she witnessed the crucifixion. Most importantly, as noted before, she was one of the first persons to witness Jesus’ resurrection that Sunday, as described in the Gospel of John, chapter 20.
In his Angelus address on July 23, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI referred to Mary Magdalene as “a disciple of the Lord who plays a lead role in the Gospels.”
Mary Magdalene’s presence says a lot about our humanity and our relationship with Jesus. Her life and example show us that it is never too late to return to Christ, even when we have had a sinful past.
Mary Magdalene also reveals how revered women are by the Church. Since the beginning of Christianity, women have always had a special place of honor. Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his famous Letter To Women, “Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”
If you are curious about the life of Mary Magdalene, we recommend Mary Magdalen: In the Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich. This book is fully referenced to its source, The Life of Jesus Christ, which consists of visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich that tell of Mary Magdalene’s story from her sinful life at an early age through her conversion. Besides Sacred Scripture, this book is the greatest source of detail on the life of St. Mary Magdalene. You can get your own copy here.