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A Prayer on the Feast Day of St. Mary Magdalene

On her feast day, we dig deeper into the true story of Mary Magdalene and how she was mistakenly portrayed as a "sinful woman."

The gospels identify Mary Magdalene as a Jewish woman who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She is believed to be among the witnesses to His crucifixion, and the first to see the empty tomb and Christ’s resurrection.

It is for these reasons that Mary Magdalene is known to be the “apostle to the apostles.” In Gnostic texts, she is portrayed to be an apostle who truly understood Jesus’ teachings. She was also considered to be His closest and most beloved disciple.

Up to this day, many people still believe that Mary Magdalene was a sinner who worked as a prostitute before she learned of Jesus’ teachings. This is an inaccurate portrayal that began in 591 when Pope Gregory I, during a series of Easter sermons, conflated the story of Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2) with Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:39) and the unnamed “sinful woman” who anointed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36–50).

Appearance of Jesus Christ to Maria Magdalena (1835) by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. In John 20:1–13, Mary Magdalene sees the risen Jesus alone and he tells her “Don’t touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my father.” (Photo from Russian Museum / Wikipedia)

It was only in the year 1969 when the image of Mary Magdalene as a “sinful woman” was cleared by the then Santo Papa, Paul VI. However, the public’s view of her as a former prostitute has continued to persist in popular culture.

Today, Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint in Catholic Teachings. In 2016, Pope Francis himself raised the level of her liturgical memory from a memorial to a feast. (Read: Finally! Pope Francis dedicates feast day for St. Faustina) Since then, St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day is celebrated every 22nd of July.

Prayers to St. Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene,

Woman of many sins,
who by conversion became 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 some day
I may share in the same everlasting joy.


O Glorious St. Magdalene,

Mold of penitents,
obtain for me the grace of perseverance
in the practices of self-denial according
to the spirit of my vows:

Pray to God for me
that I may appear before Jesus, Our Lord and Master,
at the moment of my death,
with my lamp filled with the oil of faith and hope,
and burning with the pure flame of charity,
and thus merit to be received with thee
into His eternal kingdom. Amen.


Saint Mary Magdalene,

You heard from the loving lips of Jesus
that your many sins were forgiven because you loved much.

Pour out your love at His sacred feet on our behalf.

Your tears of repentance and of love
won for you the pardon of your sins
and the vision of your Risen Jesus on Easter morning.

Surely, dear Saint,
He who refused nothing to your love on earth,
will graciously replenish us with those blessings
for which we implore your prayers. Amen.


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