St Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene - July 22nd

St Mary Magdalene (Relics: Rome, Italy; Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume, France; Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume, France; Vézelay, France)
A tradition, which developed in the 13th century, holds that after the martyrdom of St James the Greater in Jerusalem many Christians were evicted from the city and placed upon a boat without a sail or a rudder. Miraculously this group, which included Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and Martha, reached the southern shores of France. The group then began spreading the faith in the area. Mary Magdalene, however, chose a different path. She gave herself to a life of prayer and spent thirty years as a hermit in a cave above the present-day village of Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume. A competing theory alleges that Mary Magdalene was buried in Ephesus close to the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From here her relics were transferred to Constantinople and then to Western Europe.

First Class Relics

Grotte de Sainte-Marie-Madeleine
(Grotto of Saint Mary Magdalene)
83640 Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume, France
*The Grotto of Saint Mary Magdalene is carved into the side of a mountain located just to the east of Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume.
*Tradition claims that St Mary Magdalene spent the last 30 years of her life here. Some relics of St Mary Magdalene are located under the altar.
Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine
(Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene)
2 Route Asquins
89450 Vézelay, France
*Tradition holds that St Mary Magdalene was originally buried in the Church of St Maximin in the present day French city of Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume. In the 8th century her remains were unearthed and transferred to Vézelay, France. Five centuries later the King of Naples, Charles II, claimed to have found her original tomb in St Maximin. In 1281 he was able to obtain official recognition of these relics. As a result, the shrine in Vézelay lost its prominence. Then in the 16th century the relics that remained in Vézelay were burned by French Huguenots. Presently only an empty tomb and a few small relics remain within this church. They are located in the Carolingian crypt.
Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine
(Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene)
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
83470 Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume, France
*In the 13th century this church was built over the recently found tomb of St Mary Magdalene. Five centuries later, however, it was severely damaged by supporters of the French Revolution. Despite this damage, both the tomb and a relic of St Mary Magdalene’s skull were saved. These relics can be visited within the crypt of this church.
San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini
(Saint John the Baptist of the Florentines)
Via Acciaioli 2
Rome, Italy
*This church is just east of the Vatican. It is next to the Tiber River and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
*A relic of St Mary Magdalene’s foot rests in a shrine to the left of the main sanctuary. Also the chapel in the left transept is dedicated to her.

Churches of Honor in Rome

La Maddalena (The Magdalene)
Piazza della Maddalena 53
Rome, Italy
*This church is just north of the Pantheon. It is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.
*Within the passageway to the left of the main sanctuary is a 15th century statue of St Mary Magdalene. She is also depicted in the large painting in the main sanctuary.
*To the sides of the main altar are reliefs depicting two events following the Resurrection. The one is of the three Marys at the empty tomb. (Mk 16:1)  The other is of Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for a gardener. (Jn 20:15)
*In the chapel in the right transept is a miraculous crucifix that is said to have spoken to St Camillus de Lellis.
*In the third chapel on the right side of the nave are the remains of St Camillus de Lellis. He lived in the adjacent monastery and died here in 1614. His rooms can be visited by asking the sacristan. One of these rooms has been transformed into a chapel and contains the relic of his heart.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva
(Our Lady Above Minerva)
Piazza della Minerva 42
Rome, Italy
*This church is near the Pantheon.
*Within the small baptismal chapel on the right side of the nave is a 16th century painting of Mary Magdalene by Marcello Venusti entitled Noli me tangere.

Santissima Trinità dei Monti
(Most Holy Trinity of the Mounts)
Piazza della Trinità dei Monti
Rome, Italy
*This church is at the top of the Spanish Steps.
*Within the fifth chapel on the left side of the nave is another 16th century masterpiece entitled Noli me tangere.