On this day: St. Mary Magdalene

On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene is a mirror in which all Christians may see something different. Some reflections:

Mary Magdalene: The Image of a Woman Through the Centuries, by Ingrid Maisch, Verlag Herder, 1996, OSB, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1998, is specifically about what Christians down the centuries have seen when they gaze into the mirror: "the prostitute whose business was so profitable that she could spend a fortune on costly oils; the friend, wife, or lover of the prophet from Nazareth; the disciple who concealed her Easter vision out of fear; the ecstatic who brought the world (or women only?) a new God; the repentant sinner whose penitence was as measureless as her sin; the saint who was so highly revered by a medieval biographer that he would have liked to write her name in letters of pure gold." Page ix.

"They Have Taken Away My Lord," a poem by Janet Morley in her book, All Desires Known, Morehouse Publishing, 2006, page 108.

http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Mary-Magdala-Jesus-Apostle/dp/0944344585/ref=pd_sim_b_4> The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, by Karen L. King, the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University's Divinity School, Polebridge Press, 2003. Elaine Pagels said the book is "a complete translation of the Gospel of Mary together with a lucidly written, marvelously informative discussion of where it comes from and what it means."

Mary Magdalene: A Biography, by Bruce Chilton, Doubleday Religion, 2005. In his 2006 review of it in NCR, Darrell Turner said, "Dr. Chilton’s latest book challenges both fundamentalists and feminists to reexamine their conclusions."

Mary Magdalene, by Lynn Picknett, Carroll & Graf, 2003. In the "Prologue: Dirty Linen," the author describes the abuse inflicted on the women and girls incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalen laundries, the "Maggies". Pages 1 - 14.

"Who Was Mary Magdalene?" by James Carroll, Smithsonian Magazine, June, 2006. "The whole history of western civilization is epitomized in the cult of Mary Magdalene. For many centuries the most obsessively revered of saints, this woman became the embodiment of Christian devotion, which was defined as repentance. Yet she was only elusively identified in Scripture, and has thus served as a scrim onto which a succession of fantasies has been projected. In one age after another her image was reinvented, from prostitute to sibyl to mystic to celibate nun to passive helpmeet to feminist icon to the matriarch of divinity’s secret dynasty."

The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity, by Cynthia Bourgeault, Shambhala, 2010. The editorial and customer reviews at Amazon are rhapsodic.

"Mary Magdalene," by Mike Galli, on Prof. Pavlac's Women's History Site at King's College. This page has a bibliography that includes "From Jesus to Christ: The Gospel of Mary," from the PBS series, and several books and articles, including Heidi Schlumpf's "Who Framed Mary Magdalene?" from U. S. Catholic.

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