Mary Magdalene: Telling the Story

                                    Saint Mary Magdalene,
                                    who by conversion become the beloved of Jesus,
                                    thank you for your witness that Jesus forgives
                                    through the miracle of love.
                                    You, who already possess eternal happiness
                                    in His glorious presence,
                                    please intercede for me
                                    so that someday I may share in the same
                                    everlasting joy.
For years, I have been captivated by the person of Mary of Magdala. I’ve dreamed of writing a picture book to tell her story to a new generation. This dream was conceived several years ago when I attended St. Mary Magdalen parish in Everett, where I was, for a time, the “Troop Shepherd” for my daughters’ American Heritage Girls scouting troop.  I spoke to the girls about this incredible woman, and was amazed at what I found as I researched my little talk for them. Mary Magdalen was a wealthy, independent single woman living in first-century Palestine–a woman of influence. A woman broken, and healed, and made new. A woman of whole-hearted passion, energetic and practical, but full of longing, like the Bride in the Song of Songs. A woman to whom Jesus revealed the heart of the mystery of his mission: to offer us a share in his Sonship of His Father. She was a woman of dignity sent on mission. She is woman who shows us how to live the new evangelization and the feminine genius.

This dream to tell her story brought me to pray before the Magdalen’s relics at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City three years ago. Last year, it brought me to her light-filled basilica in Vezelay, France. This year, she brought me to the town of Magdala itself on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
This spring, in Jerusalem, I stood in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the spot where Mary heard the Risen Jesus call her by name. And today, on her feast day, with several manuscript drafts already written, I’m working on finishing my story.
Mary Magdalene, pray for us! Help us share the story of our own encounter with Christ’s mercy!
I’m going to close with the words from the ancient hymn, Victimae paschali laudes. For the last three years, my husband and I have sung this a capella with a small ensemble for the early (oh so very early!) Easter morning Mass at our parish. I can’t even type the lyrics without smelling chrism oil and incense. I can see the early morning light streaming through the windows above the altar at St. Andrew’s. The light of the New Creation.
Narrator:    Speak, Mary declaring
                      What you saw wayfaring.
Mary:          The tomb of Christ who is risen,
                     The glory of Jesus’ resurrection.
                     Bright angels attesting,
                     The shroud and napkin resting.
                     Yes, Christ my hope is arisen,
                     To Galilee he goes before you.”
All:               Christ indeed from death is risen
                     Our true life attaining.
                     Have mercy, Victor King
                     Ever reigning!
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