A Sister Reflects - Reflección de una Hermana


Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles | María Magdalena, Apóstol a los Apóstoles

Painting: Appearance of Jesus Christ to Maria Magdalena
"Appearance of Jesus Christ to Maria Magdalena" by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (1806-1858) 

On July 22, Dominicans around the world celebrated the feast of Mary Magdalene, patroness of the Order of Preachers. Yes, Mary Magdalene! What do you know about this famous Mary, the woman identified in the early Church as apostolorum apostola, the Apostle to the Apostles? 

The Gospels refer to Mary of Magdala more frequently than to any other woman. Even more frequently than Mary, the mother of Jesus! All four Gospels recognize Mary of Magdala as a disciple of Jesus. Nowhere, nowhere in the Gospels is Mary Magdalene portrayed as either a prostitute or a sinner! That depiction of Mary can be found in writings from the fourth and fifth centuries, but it does not occur in the Scriptures.

In the Gospels, Mary is identified as a disciple, or a follower of Jesus. As is typical of the Scriptures, the “full” stories of women’s experiences are left untold. Luke 8:1b-3 reads: “Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.”

While we know that the Scriptures record many of Jesus’ healings in detail, the story of Mary’s healing is left to our imagination and the imaginations of others. Could this be how the “gossip” of Mary Magdalene’s portrayal as a prostitute started?

In Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus (Matthew 27:45-61), verses 55 and 56 read: “There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” The Gospel goes on to record the placing of Jesus’ body in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and his departure. Verse 61 concludes this pericope: “But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.”

Finally, John 20:1-18, tells the magnificent story of Easter morning. Please read this beautiful account in your Bible. When Mary arrived at the tomb, the stone had been rolled away. She ran to tell Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved of the empty tomb. Both men ran to the tomb, witnessed it emptiness, and returned home. “But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping” (John 20:11). The text goes on to tell us that Jesus made himself known to Mary, then commissioned her to “go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17b). And thus, Mary becomes the “Apostle to the Apostles,” the woman who announced the “good news” of Jesus’ resurrection to world. 

Mary, patroness of the Order of Preachers, help us to proclaim the liberating and endless love of our God.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Maribeth Howell, OP


María Magdalena, Apóstol a los Apóstoles

El 22 de Julio, los Domínicos de todo el mundo celebraron la fiesta de María Magdalena, patrona de la Orden de Predicadores. Sí. ¡María Magdalena! ¿Qué sabe de esta famosa María, la mujer identificada en la Iglesia primitiva como apostolorum apostola, la Apóstol de los Apóstoles?

Los Evangelios se refieren a María de Magdala con más frecuencia que a cualquier otra mujer. ¡Incluso con más frecuencia que María, la madre de Jesús! Los cuatro Evangelios reconocen a María de Magdala como discípula de Jesús. ¡En ninguna parte, en ninguna parte de los Evangelios, se presenta a María Magdalena como una prostituta o una pecadora! Esa representación de María se puede encontrar en escritos de los siglos cuarto y quinto, pero no aparece en las Escrituras.

En los Evangelios, se identifica a María como discípula o seguidora de Jesús. Como es típico de las Escrituras, las historias “completas” de las experiencias de las mujeres no se cuentan. Lucas 8:1b-3 dice: “Le acompañaban los Doce y algunas mujeres que habían sido curadas de malos espíritus y de enfermedades, María, llamada Magdalena, de la cual habían salido siete demonios, Juana, mujer de Chuza, el mayordomo de Herodes, Susana, y muchos otros que los mantuvieron con sus recursos.”

Aunque sabemos que las Escrituras registran muchas de las curaciones de Jesús en detalle, la historia de la curación de María se deja a nuestra imaginación y a la imaginación de los demás. ¿Será así como comenzó el “chisme” de la representación de María Magdalena como prostituta?

En el relato de Mateo sobre la crucifixión y muerte de Jesús (Mateo 27:45-61), los versículos 55 y 56 dicen: “Estaban allí muchas mujeres mirando de lejos, las cuales habían seguido a Jesús desde Galilea, sirviéndole. Entre ellos estaban María Magdalena, y María la madre de Jacobo y José, y la madre de los hijos de Zebedeo.” El Evangelio continúa registrando la colocación del cuerpo de Jesús en la tumba de José de Arimatea y su partida. El versículo 61 concluye esta perícopa: “Pero María Magdalena y la otra María se quedaron allí sentadas, frente al sepulcro.”

Finalmente, Juan 20:1-18, cuenta la magnífica historia de la mañana de Pascua. Por favor, lea este hermoso relato en su Biblia. Cuando María llegó al sepulcro, la piedra había sido removida. Corrió a contarle a Simón Pedro y al otro discípulo a quien Jesús amaba del sepulcro vacío. Ambos hombres corrieron a la tumba, presenciaron su vaciamiento y regresaron a casa. “Pero María se quedó fuera del sepulcro llorando” (Juan 20:11). El texto continúa diciéndonos que Jesús se dio a conocer a María, luego le encargó “ir a mis hermanos y decirles: 'Voy a mi Padre y a vuestro Padre, a mi Dios y a vuestro Dios’” (Juan 20: 17b). Y así, María se convierte en la “Apóstol de los Apóstoles”, la mujer que anuncia la “buena noticia” de la resurrección de Jesús al mundo.

María, patrona de la Orden de los Predicadores, ayúdanos a proclamar el amor liberador e infinito de nuestro Dios.

Paz y bendiciones,
Hermana Maribeth Howell, OP

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Avatar  Mary Ferrara last week

Slightly different viewpoint. While Mary Magdalene was the first to “preach” the resurrection of Christ and the fulfillment of the Law, in Marist Laity Formation we learned that the Marist view is Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the first disciple and therefore disciple to the disciples. She was, in fact the first disciple, who learned from Jesus first; “and pondered all these things in her heart.” She is also found in the upper room with the disciples after the resurrection and ascension. (Mary Magdalene was probably already out preaching at that point!😉).



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Vocations Team

Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
Sister Katherine Frazier, OP
Sister Maribeth Howell, OP
Sister Mary Jones, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters
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