Friday, February 25, 2011
Relic of the "Apostle to the Apostles"
This is stop # 2 on Hubby's Birthday and Ancient History Field Trip!
Our first stop was a visit to an Egyptian Museum, located about a 2 hour drive from us, as we are studying ancient history here at home. We found it providential that a relic of St. Mary Magdalene was being hosted by a church just 10 minutes from the museum that day. The holy relic of Saint Mary Magdalene is currently on tour here in California. The grand purpose of the tour is to share holiness of the relic and to tell the story of the saint who is recorded as the first witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What an amazing blessing and experience for our whole family!
St. Mary Magdalene is often referred to as Apostle to the Apostles. Tradition has it that some years after the Crucifixtion, Mary Magdalen was imprisoned. On release she and other close followers of Jesus were cast out to sea on the shores of Palestine in a boat without sails or oars or supplies. The boat miraculously came to shore on the coast of Gaul (France) in a town near Marseille.
After preaching with her companions and converting the whole of Provence, Mary Magdalene retired to a mountain cave, known as Saint Baume (meaning holy aromatic oil). Here she spent the last thirty years of her life in solitude.
Many pilgrims still visit the cave, there in France.
A letter of authenticity from Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon reports that the relics were hidden at the time of the Saracen invasions and rediscovered in 1279, and have been venerated without interruption ever since. Shortly after this discovery, Pope Boniface VIII published the pontifical bull for the establishment of the Dominicans at Sainte Baume (the cave) and St. Maximin, (town of the Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene-20 miles from the cave). The Dominicans have remained guards of the relic ever since.
The holy relic is a portion of the tibia of Saint Mary Magdalene, enclosed in a glass reliquary.
At one point we were the only pilgrims in the church other than a French Dominican Priest, Father Francois Le Hegaret, whose duty it was to be guarding the relic at all times. This time alone was quite special and allowed me to take this many photographs without disturbing any other pilgrims. I felt so incredibly blessed to have these moments to be in the presence of this amazing saint, visionary and leader of the early Christian Church.
This is only the second United States tour of the relic.
I love this photo with St. Mary Magdalene's holy relic, seemingly at the foot of the cross, as she was at Our Lord's crucifixtion.
There was so much to her story that I learned today, much of it I never really learned or heard before. Paula Lawlor wrote a fascinating book that can be found in the gift shop here. This is what the book looks like:
I didn't realize that in 1969, the Catholic Church clarified that Mary Magdalene's image as a reformed prostitute is not supported by the text of the Bible and it revised the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar, and now her feast day is celebrated with the gospel of the Resurrection where Mary Magdalene was the first to see the Risen Lord and was told by Him to go and tell the apostles.
Here are a few other links to the story:
I was pleasantly surprised that 3yo Angel Baby really "got it." Normally she is so active and loud but she displayed complete natural reverence which was a miracle in itself
I knelt before her with some mighty prayer intentions...
St. Mary Magdalene, please pray for us!