Mary Magdalen was the first recorded witness to the resurrection of Jesus, His most ardent and loving follower. She had stood with His mother Mary at the foot of the cross on that brutal Good Friday afternoon and had been by the side of Mary during those difficult hours. On Easter morning, she went with the other women to the tomb and it was there, in the garden near the tomb, that Jesus appeared to her. It was she who brought the news of the resurrection to the apostles, causing Peter and John to race to the tomb to see what had happened.
She was from Magdala, a small fishing town on the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Tiberias. She was known to be a "great sinner", a woman of the streets who heard Jesus speak of the mercy and forgiveness of God and subsequently changed her life completely. This tradition explains why Mary Magdalen was revered for centuries as the "model penitent". Her matter-of-fact witness to the resurrection moved Peter and John to go and see for themselves: "I have seen the Lord and these things he said to me". Jesus had chosen her to bring the news to them and she simply told them what had happened.
She has always been an example of great love and great forgiveness, one of those close to Jesus who grasped the truth of God's love for human beings and spent her life bearing witness to that love.
The feast day of our Patron Saint is celebrated each year on July 22nd.