Mary-Magdalene receives you at home

at Sainte-Baume

Ste Baume's Forest

Logo Fraternity Saint Mary-Magdalene
France

and at Saint-Maximin

Basilica of Saint-Maximin

But WHO is then Mary-Magdalene ???

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Mary-Magdalene and the Sainte-Baume

I. MARY-MAGDALENE'S TRADITION IN THE GOSPELS

1. a fidelity to Jesus to all event until his death and in his death.

Mary-Magdalene, as the Four Gospels present it unanimously, is first and essentially this woman that, in all things and in all circumstances, give the pre-eminence to the love. When Jesus is condemned and is crucified, whereas nearly all scared apostles fled, Mary-Magdalene is there, to the foot of the Cross, with Marie, Jesus' Mother, Marie - Jacobé, Salomé and Jean. She braved the service of order to help Jesus in his last instants, to collect his last words and his last breath.

2. a fidelity beyond the death and stronger than the death.

Unanimously again, the Four Gospels return that at the morning of Easter Mary-Magdalene surrenders to Jesus' tomb with one or two companions to finish the funeral cares there. She finds the open and empty tomb. She runs to warn the apostles. Pierre and Jean come on their turn while running and find the things as Mary-Magdalene had described them: the sepulchral stone has been removed, the linens that regained Jesus' body lie there, sunk down, the shroud that enveloped the head is rolled in a place to part. But, Jesus' body is not there... The disciples, then, return at home, Pierre being quite surprised of what had arrived.

Alone, obstinate, faithfully headstrong, Mary-Magdalene remains close to the tomb. She cries : «Who removed Jesus' Body? Has he done to oneself steal?...». His beloved Master been killed, but she wants, at least, to recover his body! And it is whereas Jesus, living, appears to her while calling it by his name : «Marie! ». She recognizes him and, in her joy, throw himself to his feet while exclaiming: «Rabbouni! » («Small Master»).

3. Mary-Magdalene is sent in mission by Jesus.
She becomes apostle of the apostles.

«Don't keep myself so because I didn't still go up toward the Father. But go to find the brothers and say them: " I go up toward my Father and your Father, toward my God and your God ".» Loyal to Jesus until the extremity of his death, Mary-Magdalene is going to be the First witness and the First apostle of his Resurrection. Life arises of the death. The Resurrection springs of the tomb. While searching for Jesus' dead Body, she finds the Mystical Body of the church.

4. Mary-Magdalene who was?

Her true name was MARY. This is how name her Jesus and Jean. Madeleine, or more precisely Magdaleine, was a nickname that had been given him because she was famous in a city of Galilee, very close to the lake of Tibériade, Magdala.

Jesus, told us Saint Luc, had freed her of seven demons. In her joy to have found a Liberator, she dedicated henceforth her life, her strengths, her goods to the service of Jesus and his apostles. While they walked through cities and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News of Kingdom of God, Marie, nicknamed the Magdaléenne, as well as a few other women, «accompanied them,aiding them with their goods».

5. «I will call Beloved the one that was rejected...»

A very old Tradition of the church recognizes Mary-Magdalene under Marie's features, sister of Marthe and Lazare, and of «the loving Sinner». Luc evangelist doesn't name this last, excommunicated of the society of just and pure. For what serious mistake? He doesn't say it either. Still is that, during one meal offered in honor of Jesus, this woman that one showed the finger as «sinner in the city», was revealed more loving and more delicate than the pure and just Pharisee. This one didn't accomplish the less gesture of hospitality with regard to Jesus; the aforesaid «sinner» bathes her tears Jesus' feet, wipe them with his hairs, anoints them with perfume and covers them of kissing.

Hair unknoted in sign of penitence or mourning, precious perfume spilled on Jesus' feet, tears of thankfulness or compassion..., such are the features that make us recognize our Mary-Magdalene in many events of Jesus' life.

Penitent in tears to Jesus' feet, Marie, the rejected and that one nicknames «the Magdaléenne», will become Jesus' Royal Porch. Six days before the Passover, in Béthanie, it is her that dedicates and enthrone Jesus King and Messiah, soft and humble, in the Eternal and Universal City: Jerusalem. «Hosanna to David's Son! Be without fear, Girl of Zion, has come your king, modest, climbed on the young of a donky.» «Everywhere where will be proclaimed the Good News, all over the world, one will also retell to her memory what she has just made.» Mary-Magdalene's name, henceforth, is bound inseparable to the Passion - Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus, the Christ.

Evangelical Text references relative to Mary-Magdalene :

The loving Sinner : Luc, 7, 36-50.
Following Jesus: Luc, 8, 1-3.
Marthe and Mary: Luc, 10, 38-42.
The resurrection of Lazare: Jean, 11, 1-44.
The unction in Béthanie: Jean, 12, 1-8 - Matthieu, 26, 6-13 - Marc, 14, 3-9.
To the Cross: Jean, 19, 25-27.
To Jesus' burial: Matthieu, 27, 57-61 - Marc, 15, 40-41 et 47.
At the morning of Easter: Jean, 20, 1-18 - Matthieu, 28, 1-8 - Marc, 16,1-11.

II. MARY-MAGDALENE'S TRADITION IN PROVENCE AND TO THE SAINTE BAUME

The Provence is not Gaul «Provincia Romana» (from where his name: Provence). Since the IInd century before Christ, the Provence is a land of passage, a land of exchanges, a land of welcome. It is the natural bridge that joins Italy to Spain. It is the door toward the Orient and the northbound door, by the Rhone. As Palestine, it is a crossroads of the civilizations and peoples: Ligureses, Celt, Greeks, Latin, Egyptians and Semite recover themselves there.

We know the quite beginnings of the evangelism of Gaul by the Acts of the Martyrs of Lyons, Saint Pothin and Saint Blandines, in the IIe century, as well as by the writings of Saint Irénée that came from Smyrna in Minor Asia. For more humble and more hidden than it was, the evangelism of our Provence is not less assured since the apostolic times (1st century). By whom? Probably by simple infantrymen as you and me, whose official history will never keep the name.

A very old, very beautiful and very respectable tradition wants to be that the good seed of the gospel has been buried in our Provencal land by Mary-Magdalene with some companions. Why not? Where that went Mary-Magdalene after the ascension of Jesus and the Pentecost, it is anyway without drums nor trumpets. Nowhere one kept a trace certain of her passage. Where that she went, it is in the anonymity, the simplicity, the humility and poverty that she announced the Death - Resurrection of his Rabbouni. Then, let's attentively listen to this tradition that the ancient transmitted us :

«Because of the persecution of the Jews against the first Christian and in particular against Jesus' near friends, Marie, nicknamed the Magdaléenne, was embarked on a boat without veil nor oar, with her brother Lazare, her sister Marthe, the holy Marie - Jacobés women and Salomé, Maximin, one of the 72 disciples, and some others. The frail skiff, under the protection of the Lord, arrived without damages in the mouth of the Rhone, in this place that one calls today Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The group of exiles was received by a woman of Sara's name that one tells to be of Egyptian and gipsy origin. Sara converts and received Christ's baptism. She was going to become the patron of the Gypsies.

Whereas Marie-Jacobé and Salomés remained by Sara, the other members of the group dispersed themselves in the Provence. Marthe settles in Tarascon, important crossroads on a former island of the Rhone. Mary-Magdalene came with his brother in Marseille and evangelized the Marseillais there on the square of the Temple of Artémis. She also went to Aix-en-Provence by Maximin, his companion of exile who became the first bishop of this city. Then, carrying up the course of the Huveaune, she came to settle to the Sainte baume to spend the last years of his life there.

With its high mountain, its mysterious underground cave and its sacred forest, the Sainte baume was since very remote times a place of cult pagan and dark divinities'. Mary-Magdalene spent the last years of his life there in the prayer, the contemplation and the predication, hunting this place all spiritual demons who enslave and links the men in their body and their mind. She planted Jesus' beaming Cross that saves all man without discrimination there forever. Under Marie's patronage, the Magdaléenne, the Sainte baume became henceforth, a place of reconciliation of the man with the unique God of Mercy and love, as it appeared in dead and resuscitated Jesus. It is by there a place of reconciliation of the man with himself, with all men become his brothers and with the whole creation purchased by the Body and Christ's Blood.

Feeling his strengths to decline, Mary-Magdalene descended in the plain to join Maximin and to die between his arms after having received the Saint Communion. She was buried in Saint - Maximin, in a crypt above which was raised from the XIVe century the magnificent Basilica that we can see today.»

Such is Mary-Magdalene's tradition in Provence. Since centuries, multitudes of pilgrims, saints, popes, kings and queens, numerous, come to venerate her in this place and to find close to her comfort and love to work at Kingdom of his Rabbouni: Jesus, the Christ.

Saint Mary-Magdalene, Apostle of the apostles, Patron of the Provence, pray for us!

Philippe Devoucoux, o.p.

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