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I was wandering around looking for material on Mary from the little town of Magdala and stumbled upon an interesting biography of Mary at of all places the BBC ,which is not a usual source of material on a religious figure.

The BBC has looked into certain parts of her life that many religious and saintly sites leave out. The story as presented by the British public broadcaster provides some interesting background on where some of the myths about Mary originated and got propagated through the centuries. It is of little wonder that this poor demon possessed girl from Mandela is the stuff of legend.

One thing we know for sure is that she was an outcast. The following is an excerpt from the BBC site:

Could anything else in Mary’s life have made her an outcast? The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary. (Luke 8:2)

Jesus was known as an exorcist. In all of the gospels, one of the principal things he is doing in his campaign for a renewal of Israel is exorcism. The exorcisms and healings probably go together with the teaching and preaching that the kingdom of God is at hand.

At that time, people believed that the demons possessed people who had done something wrong, and deserved to be possessed, whereas good, virtuous people were protected from demon possession.

Whatever the cause of her possession, Mary’s exorcism is the catalyst which makes her sign up with the Jesus movement. The message that Jesus is said to have preached seems to have particular appeal for people who are in the margins of society. Luke chapter 8, tells us that Mary was one of Jesus’ followers and travelled with him.

The article continues and explores her transformation from outcast to herald of the resurrection…The Bible says that Mary Magdalene was present at the two most important moments in the story of Jesus: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Mary Magdalene was a prominent figure at both these events….Jesus’ resurrection was the turning point for Christianity. This was when it changed from a small movement to a whole new religion. And Mary Magdalene was a key figure in this event.

Click here for a link to the BBC page on Mary Magdalene but be aware that there are references here to texts and theories that are not part of the tradition.

Click here for a Saint of the Day Podcast from America Catholic Radio on Mary.

One Response to “Mary of Magdala: from outsider to herald of the resurrection”

  1. Olivia says:

    Thanks for this post about a very strong and courageous woman. Some of the references may not be part of the tradition but it is interesting that in 1969 the Catholic Church declared that Mary of Magdala was not the penitent sinner mentioned in Luke’s Gospel in Luke 7:36-50). As we learn more, some of the traditions may be questioned. Mary of Magdala was certainly a faithful disciple as, I’m sure, were many other women who were not mentioned in Scripture.