By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the four gospels as one of the most devoted followers of Jesus.
Lived 1st Century
Rank and group: Saint
Feast day: July 22
Patron saint: Hairdressers, perfumers, gardeners, prostitutes
Attributes: Jar of ointment, long and loose hair, crown of thorns, mirror
Status: Roman Martyrology
Saint Gregory the Great's writings have led Western liturgies to connect her with Mary the Sinner (Luke VII, 37) and Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John XI); Eastern tradition and the Eastern Fathers challenge this notion. Regardless of these contentious identifications, it is clear that she was one of the faithful women at the foot of the cross, and was anointing Jesus in his tomb on Easter Sunday when he rose from the dead.
Her jar of ointment is always with her, the sweet sign of love and repentance. The writings of Saint Gregory the Great have influenced Western liturgies to identify her with Mary the Sinner (Luke VII, 37) and Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John XI); this is challenged by eastern traditions of writings of the Eastern Fathers.
She withdrew to the desert following her hard life as a harlot, and when her garments decayed she was clad only in her long hair. She is sometimes depicted on stony ground, from which a plant miraculously flourishes.
Sojourn in France
The myth of Mary's sojourn in France is pure legend.