New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Mary Magdalen

Saint Mary Magdalen holy card in which she holds her alabaster jar of oil, from the painting 'Magdalene', by Carlo Dolci, 1665-1670, oil on canvas, Galleria Palatina, Florence, ItalyArticle

Penitent, called Magdalen probably from a her native town, Magdala, in Galilee, or from the Talmudic expression meaning adulteress. She is mentioned as the sinner (Luke 7), who bathed the feet of Christ; as Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10 and John 11); and later as Mary Magdalen (Luke 8), who ministered to Christ, by whom she was freed from seven devils. It is generally agreed today that the three persons mentioned are identical, although the Greek Fathers considered them distinct. After her conversion, she remained faithful to Christ; stood at the foot of the cross (Mark 15, Matthew 27; John 19; Luke 22); and was the first witness of the Resurrection. The Greek tradition holds that Mary Magdalen retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin, and died there, her relics being transferred to Constantinople. The French tradition holds that she migrated to Marseilles with Lazarus and Martha, and retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near the city, where she lived in seclusion for 30 years. Represented in art, kneeling before a Crucifix at the foot of which a death’s head is lying. Her head now rests in the grotto of Sainte-Baume. Feast, Roman Calendar, 22 July.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Mary Magdalen”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 August 2018. Web. 27 January 2022. <>