Responsive image
Nederlands/Vlaams Deutsch Francais English language Spanish language Portuguese language Catalan Chinese Czech Malayalam Finnish Igbo
Japanese Korean Romanian Malay language Norwegian Swedish Polish Swahili Chichewa Tagalog Urdu
A woman with Spirit. Mary of Magdala. Meditation Day One

A woman with Spirit

Mary of Magdala. Meditation Day One

Studying the picture

This medieval altar panel depicts the mature Mary of Magdala. The inscription on the scroll says that she had been a sinner, but is now a saint.

In the background we see four scenes which form part of Mary’s traditional story:

  • a repentant Mary dries Jesus’s feet with her hair (top left);
  • Jesus raises Mary’s brother Lazarus from the tomb (top right);
  • Mary meets Jesus after his resurrection (bottom left);
  • Mary preaches the Good News (bottom right).

Through the centuries Mary of Magdala has been an inspiration to women.

Medieval painting depicting Mary of Magdala.

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.


When people hear the name Mary of Magdala, the first image that flashes across their inner eye will probably be the woman of the anointing. A woman generous with love. Generous with gratitude. An endearing and beautiful image . . . But is this all there was to Mary of Magdala?

Luke’s gospel suggests twice that Mary had a sinful past. Whatever that past, - and who of us has a completely clean record? – her actions after her first meeting with Jesus point to a spirited and proud person, one who is able to hold her own. This is a woman who does not run away when the authorities clamp down on Jesus and his followers. She follows him all the way to Calvary and is found standing beneath the cross. She is the prototype of a leader. It is evident from the gospels that she must have been able to organise a group of women to join her when she decided to follow this Rabbi Jesus. All four gospels are unanimous in pointing out how great her faith was, her solidarity with Jesus, and her readiness to be his witness.

Sr. Theresia Saers

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.

Visitors to our website since January 2014.
Pop-up names are online now.

The number is indicative, but incomplete. For full details click on cross icon at bottom right.

Please, support our campaign
for women priests
Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.