Mary Magdalene

Feast Day: July 22
Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Mary was not a quitter. The other disciples ran away afraid, but Mary stayed with some other women at the foot of the cross until Jesus died. She would not leave her friend in the terrible last moments of his earthly life. Sunset was fast approaching, which meant that the Sabbath was about to begin. The rules of her religion said she had to be inside before dark, but she followed Jesus’ body to the tomb. At the first light of dawn after the Sabbath, she rushed to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, because there had been no time when he was buried. Mary hurried back to the Apostles to tell them that she had seen the Risen Christ.

Mary lived in the town of Magdala. This small town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee was a place where Jesus spent much of his time preaching. This is probably where Mary first came to know Jesus. Some people think that she might be the woman who entered Simon the Pharisee’s house. That woman wept and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. She wiped his feet with her hair and then poured perfume on his feet. The Gospels tell us that Jesus released seven demons from Mary. We are not sure what the evils were, but over the centuries people have guessed that she was an immoral woman. The Vatican has said this is not so, and many scholars believe that the reference means she was cured of illness by Jesus. Some scholars say that she was Martha and Lazarus’ sister, Mary, of Bethany.

The one thing we can know for sure about Mary is that she was the first person to see the Resurrected Christ. Mary Magdalene brought hope to the disciples as she raced to tell them that Jesus was risen. She is a symbol of hope for us as well today. When Mary first went to the tomb at daybreak after the Sabbath, she discovered that the stone had been moved away and that the tomb was empty. She was heartbroken and began to cry. A man in the garden asked her why she was crying. Mary thought the man was a gardener and told him that her Lord had been taken away. She didn’t know where they had put him. The “gardener” called her by name and she immediately recognized him as Jesus. She ran to the disciples and told them that she had seen the Risen Lord.

We do not know where Mary went after Jesus ascended into heaven. Some say that she went with John to Ephesus. Others say she went to southern France where she lived alone in a cave and prayed. No matter where she ended up, Mary is still a model for us today as one of Jesus' first and most loyal disciples.

Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 1, chapter 6
Grade 2, chapter 6
Grade 3, chapter 6
Grade 5, chapter 6
Grade 6, chapter 13