Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

October 30, 2009

Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Noli Me Tangere, by Fra Angelico, Convent of San Marco, Florence (1425-1430).

Dear Friends, Family, Readers, Sisters:

As Edith mentioned earlier this month, a relic of St. Mary Magdalene arrived on North American soil, for the first time ever, escorted by a French Dominican. The relic is Magdalene's tibia, a bone of the leg, which knelt before the Risen Lord, as the first witness to the Resurrection.

The national press release traces the history of this relic:
A letter of authentication from Bishop Rey 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...For centuries the relics were missing - disappearing from about 710 A.D. when the Saracens pillaged the South of France and the Church hid sacred objects to safeguard them. Then in 1279, they were discovered by Charles II of Anjou in a crypt of a chapel in the town of St. Maximin in a sarcophagus that did not have her name but that contained a piece of old parchment dated 710 A.D., that said, 'Here lies the body of Mary Magdalene.'

Upon discovering the bones, Charles II sealed the crypt and gathered all the Bishops for an official opening and inspection. All of the bones including the skull were found intact. The only missing bone was the lower jaw bone which was later found and identified by the Pope as the same jawbone that had been venerated, for centuries, as the jawbone of Mary Magdalene, at Saint John Lateran Church in Rome.

The relic is travelling around the South and the East Coast; tomorrow it will be in New Orleans, where Edith can visit her, and on November 8th it will be in Washington, DC, where Julian and Agatha will venerate her relics.

This is a joyous occasion for all of us, but we are especially moved by the Providence which unites us, the Magdalene Sisters, in honoring our patron. There are hundreds of cities she could visit, but, by the grace of God, she is coming to ours!

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In honor of this, and to reaffirm our commitment to pursuing God's will in our lives, the Magdalene Sisters will be saying a novena over the course of the next nine days, to St. Mary Magdalene. Every day we will post one meditation of St. Mary Magdalene--be it a scripture verse, or writings from the Church Fathers, etc.--and conclude with the following prayer:
Saint Mary Magdalene,
woman of many sins, who by conversion
became the beloved of Jesus,
thank you for your witness
that Jesus forgives
through the miracle of love.

You, who already possess eternal happiness
in His glorious presence,
please intercede for me, so that some day
I may share in the same everlasting joy. Amen.

Our Father.
Hail Mary.
Glory Be.

Please join us in this novena, as we pray for St. Mary Magdalene's courage, conviction, abandonment to the will of God, and overwhelming passion for Our Lord.

Please feel free to leave comments with your intentions, so that we may take them before St. Mary Magdalene, and present them to her, hoping for her intercession. You may remain anonymous in your request.

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View the full itinerary here.

St. Anthony of Padua Church
4640 Canal St.
New Orleans, LA

Saturday Oct 31st: Veneration -- all day until 6 p.m.; Masses: 8:15 a.m. and 4 p.m.; Lectures: 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Sunday Nov 1st: Veneration -- all day until 6 p.m.; Masses: 7:30 a.m., 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.; Lectures: 10:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Dominican House of Studies
487 Michigan Ave, N.E.
Washington, DC

Sunday, November 8th: Mass: 11:15 a.m.; Public Veneration: 12:30 - 5:20 p.m.; Rosary: 5:20 p.m.; Vespers: 5:40 p.m.

To find out more about this relic, please click here.

You can follow the progress of the novena by clicking here.

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