Mary of Magdala, Meditation Day Three
Studying the picture
Three women that have made it into the calendar of the Saints, Mary of Magdala, Odilia and Clare, are pictured together in this artist´s impression of the 15th century. Mary of Magdala leads the group, in accordance with the testimony of the gospels. Odilia, in the 7th and 8th Centuries was founder of a monastery, of which she remained the Abbess till the day of her death. Clare, the spiritual friend of Saint Francis of Assisi, is shown in the act of carrying the Host into safety in a time of trouble, when the Church was in danger. She was the example of all those women who chose to follow Christ with total abdication of worldly goods. It is clear that the artist wants to show there is a connection between the leadership role of Mary of Magdala in the Gospel and the inspiration women drew from her example through the ages. Actually we see Mary looking round as if to check whether the others are following.
Tradition has it that Odilia´s blindness was cured at the moment she received baptism and the eyes between the pages of the book she is holding are symbolic of that. The book itself points to spiritual vision. Other names come to mind, Hildegard von Bingen, Catherine of Siëna, Teresa of Avila. Great women who have been great witnesses of Christ and teachers of the faithful, who have made a lasting impression in the history of the Church. No doubt we can mention names in our own surroundings, maybe even our own mothers and sisters among them.
Three Holy Women: St Magdalen, St Odilia and St Clare by an unknown Alsace Master. Last third of the 15th century. Picture Gallery, Lvov.
Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.
And where do we stand? Can we point to moments in our own life, when we took upon us a leadership role? Maybe even in the face of obstruction? Did our faith ever inspire anybody else?
Are we discouraged now, or do we continue our own mission . . . and inspire others?
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