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Arguments. Mary of Magdala. Meditation Day Ten


Mary of Magdala, Meditation Day Ten

Studying the picture

France has more of these paintings. The scene is not as peaceful as the one we saw before. Mary of Magdala is teaching again. We know that Mary is meant because we see the harbour in the background and the abundance of free flowing hair. Somehow she is a different type of woman than the earlier two. It is as if she is hardened by adversity and by the recent hardship out there at sea. In her appearance she looks authoritative, wild and free.

Actually there are only men in what we might call the audience. If only these men had been shown in a listening attitude! But they are not. Rather, except for the young man with his hand on his heart, they are arguing amongst themselves.

Evidently the woman is the cause of the controversy. Five men in the foreground are debating rather loudly one would say, the three to the side are whispering. By contrasting the response of the young man nearest to Mary, the artist comments on how the others receive her testimony -- the testimony of a woman!

This painting is from the South of France, painted on wood. Late Middle Ages. Artist unknown.

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.


Men love to argue. It seems to come so natural to them. How are we affected by arguments and debates? What does it mean to be a woman in a man’s world? Do I dare meet them on their own terms?

Am I always looking for a favourable response? Am I able to face doubt and opposition? Where does the strength of my testimony lie?

Sr. Theresia Saers

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