Flat Saints: Mary Magdalene

During our month of saints, we are hearing the stories of seven different saints from Scripture and tradition. There are many ways for our students to learn about their Saints. Check out some suggestions here. Come back all this month, for posts about our seven saints and remember to share what you and your family learn about the saints this month on Facebook with a photo of your flat saint out and about and #CHFSaints.

Saint Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles and all around cool lady.

I have seen the Lord. — John 20:18

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Life dates: First century

Feast day: July 22

Symbols: Red egg, cross, skull, perfume jar, the color red, book, candle or torch.

Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus during his lifetime. She was present at Jesus’ death and went with other women to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. She was the first to see the risen Christ and shared the news of his resurrection with the disciples. She is sometimes called “apostle to the apostles.” Even though Mary plays a significant role throughout all of the Gospels, she is never mentioned after.  It is believed that Mary Magdalene spent the remainder of her years preaching in France where she died.

Why the red egg? Perhaps the strangest of a Mary’s symbols in Christian art is the red egg. There are several possible stories for this symbol. Legend has it that after Christ’s death and resurrection, Mary went to share a meal with and preach to Emperor Tiberius, saying: “Jesus Christ is Risen!” The Emperor responds: “Christ has risen just as surely as the egg in your hand is red.” Upon saying this, the egg in Mary Magdalene’s hand turned red. Another story says that Mary Magdalene had with her at the crucifixion a basket of eggs which were made red by the blood of Christ, or alternatively, that she took a basket of white eggs to the tomb and after seeing the risen Christ noticed that the eggs were red. Whatever story you find most interesting, the symbol is clearly connected to Mary’s witnessing and proclaiming the risen Christ.

Books in the Christian Education Cabinet: The books in our Christian Education resource cabinet are always available for check out. Please remember to fill out and leave the card that comes with the library book and remember to return it when your family is finished.

Saint Mary Magdalene and the Red Egg
The Legend of the Red Egg
The First Easter

Activity to do at home:

For Adults: Interesting podcast episode from Krista Tippett’s show On Being, the changing faces of Mary Magdalene (click “play episode” in the right hand column). This episode also covers some recent scholarship about women in the New Testament (interview is with New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson of Emory University). As a companion to the show, Tippett also has an overview of art depicting Mary Magdalene on her blog that children, youth, and adults all may enjoy looking through together.

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