After Our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, whose Child was God, no one has more beautifully or nobly borne the name Mary than Saint Mary Magdalen, the sister of Saint Lazarus and Saint Martha. She is called innocently “the Penitent.” She was given the name Magdalen because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a gentile town called Magdala, in northern Galilee, and her culture and all her manners were those of a Gentile. As referred to in Holy Scripture, she is, “Mary the penitent.” “Mary the sinner” and “Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.” Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary Magdalen was put by the Jews in a boat without sails or oars — along with her brother and sister, Saint Lazarus and Saint Martha, and Saint Maximin, who baptized her, and Saint Sidonius, “the man born blind,” and her maid, Sara, and the body of Saint Anne, the mother of the Mother of God — and sent drifting out to sea.
The boat landed on the southern shore of France. Saint Mary Magdalen lived the whole rest of her life in France, as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume, near a little town named Saint Maximin. Every day the angels carried her up into the air to hear their choirs singing. Every day she was given the Blessed Eucharist to be her only Food. Saint Mary Magdalen died when she was seventy-two years old. This was the same age as was Our Blessed Lady when she died.