Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Mary Magdalene (first century)

Saint Mary Magdalene (first century)

Feast day: July 22

Mary of Magdala (“Magdalene” indicates she was from the town of Magdala) is among the first and greatest saints who lived in the company of Jesus. Yet she came from a very troubled past. We are told that Jesus cast out seven demons from her (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2), suggesting she had suffered from severe physical and emotional illnesses.

After her healing, she became part of the influential group of women disciples who traveled with Jesus (Luke 8:1–2, Mark 15:40–41). She likely had a leadership role among them because her name is first on the lists of women.

Mary Magdalene had courage. She was present at the cross when most men who followed Jesus had all run away. In the Resurrection accounts, it is she rather than Peter who is the first to see the empty tomb. Jesus chose to appear to her first, and he sent her to tell the Good News to the others (Matthew 28:1–10, Mark 16:1–10, Luke 24:1–12, John 20:1–18). We see in the Bible how she rose from the shadows of society to great stature in the Christian community.  (From The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition [Saint Mary’s Press])

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