Saint Mary Magdalene is known as the equal-of-the-Apostles. According tradition, she went to Southern Gaul (France or possibly Spain), preached the Faith there, and Fell Asleep In the Lord having lived her latter days as a semi-recluse, almost a hermit - but that state of recluse had nothing to do with avoidance of other people, for tradition holds she spent virtually all of her latter days in the Beatific Vision, and actually had to be told by God's messenger when her physical body had died.

In the Western Divine Liturgy, her feast day is celebrated as that of an Apostle.

Click on Icon for larger picture

This Icon is from Saint John The Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

This is more of an Holy Picture than a triditional Icon, though doen in the same general style, by Peter Strub
the Younger (Master of Messkirch), Germany, active 1530-43, 16th century. It is Tempera on panel 60 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches. Probably now residing in a museum.

There is a certain quality of beauty which is sometimes captured in a special way, as it is here.

And, of course, the traditional Icon.

Though she is usually presented as a prostitute, some re-thinking of her status and habits should be made. Saint Mary Magdalene came from a wealthy family, and probably was more akin to a "flapper" of the early Twentieth Century, or "Flower Child" or "Hippy" of the latter Twentieth Century. Because of her conduct she readily succumbed to evil temptations, probably even to the point of demonic possession. Of even greater Hope for sinners is the possibility such demonic possession was voluntary or "semi-voluntary" on her part at some point.

Tradition holds that: on the shores of The Sea of Galilee she formed a community which followed Our Lord's teachings, but that with the passage of time it became evident "freeloaders"were taking advantage of the community; Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Martha, and Saint Lazarus, are said to have moved North, to the European Continent, and that Saint Lazarus became Bishop of a neighboring community; it is also said that when Saint Mary Magdalene died, she had lived for so many years experiencing Our Lord in Heaven (something like a "permanent" state of what Saint Paul briefly experienced) she was unaware of any transition, that her brother Saint Lazarus was told in a vision that she had died and brought to her for her funeral, but that upon being returned he found he had left an article of clothing and had to send for it to be returned (a matter of several day's journey) - his personal trip having been made instantaneously.

It is not known whether Mary Magdalene the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the woman who was being stoned, and the woman who annointed Our Lord's feet and washed them with her tears, are all the same person, but we can emulate a line from Jesus Christ Super Star, and truthfully say, "I don't know how to love Him."

Besides being the name of a town, the word Magdalene also has the distinction of having the meaning of "a soothing or healing baslm."