Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala is described, both in the canonical New Testament and in the New Testament apocrypha, as a devoted disciple of Jesus. She is considered by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches to be Saint Mary Magdalene, with a feast day of July 22. She is also commemorated by the Lutheran Church with a festival on the same day. The Orthodox Church also commemorates her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers which is the second Sunday after Pascha (Easter).
In the New Testament, Mary Magdalene is distinguished from other women named Mary as “Mary of Magdala”, a town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The life of the historical Mary Magdalene is the subject of ongoing debate. The less-obscure development of the “penitent Magdalene” as the most beloved medieval female saint after Mary, both as an exemplar for the theological discussion of penitence and as a social parable for the position of women, provides matter for the social historian and the history of ideas.
Prayer to St Mary Magdalene
by Saint Anselm
St Mary Magdalene, you came with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from him your burning thirst was abundantly refreshed through him your sins were forgiven; by him your bitter sorrow was consoled.
My dearest lady, well you know by your own life how a sinful soul can be reconciled with its creator, what counsel a soul in misery needs, what medicine will restore the sick to health.
It is enough for us to understand, dear friend of God, to whom were many sins forgiven, because she loved much.
Most blessed lady, I who am the most evil and sinful of men do not recall your sins as a reproach, but call upon the boundless mercy by which they were blotted out.
This is my reassurance, so that I do not despair; this is my longing, so that I shall not perish.
I say this of myself, miserably cast down into the depths of vice, bowed down with the weight of crimes, thrust down by my own hand into a dark prison of sins, wrapped round with the shadows of darkness.
Therefore, since you are now with the chosen because you are beloved and are beloved because you are chosen of God, 1, in my misery, pray to you, in bliss; in my darkness, I ask for light; in my sins, redemption; impure, I ask for purity.
Recall in loving kindness what you used to be, how much you needed mercy, and seek for me that same forgiving love that you received when you were wanting it. Ask urgently that I may have the love that pierces the heart; tears that are humble; desire for the homeland of heaven; impatience with this earthly exile; searing repentance; and a dread of torments in eternity.
Turn to my good that ready access that you once had and still have to the spring of mercy.
Draw me to him where I may wash away my sins; bring me to him who can slake my thirst; pour over me those waters that will make my dry places fresh. You will not find it hard to gain all you desire from so loving and so kind a Lord, who is alive and reigns and is your friend.