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The Seven Primary Roles of Mary Magdalene

Renowned scholar Sandra Schneiders, IHM, STD argues that the importance of Mary Magdalene in the development of our Christian tradition cannot be overstated.  In her 2013 lecture at Boston College she said:

The gospel narratives present Mary Magdalene as the only privileged witness named at all of the Paschal Mystery events—the suffering, the death, the burial, the empty tomb, and the resurrected Lord returned to his own – the prophet par excellence, disciple and apostle of the Risen One. 

As we learn more about Mary Magdalene, consider these primary roles.  They are derived from direct and indirect references to Mary Magdalene in the Gospels.

Disciple and Patron from the start of Jesus’s Galilean Ministry

Lk 8:1-3, Mt 27:55-56, Mk 15:40-41, Lk 23:49, Lk 23:53-56

Leader of the women disciples who traveled and served with Jesus.

Lk 8:1-15; 9:18-22 & 9:43-45 pointed to by Lk 24:6-8 Mk 8:31, 9:30-32 pointed to by Mk 16:7b Mt 16:13-21, 17:21-22 pointed to by Mt 28:6

Privileged Witness: Only named disciple who experienced Jesus’ healing power in her own person

Luke 8:2. Mark 16:9 (Addendum)

Faithful Presence to Jesus at the Cross

Mt 27:55-56, Mk 15:40, Lk 23:49, Jn 19:25-27

Leader of the Women Witnesses at Jesus’ Burial and the Empty Tomb on Easter

Mt 27:61, Mk 15:46-47, Lk 23:55-56, Mt 28:1-2, Mk 16:1-4, Lk 24:1-3, Jn 20:1

First Commissioned to Proclaim the Resurrection by the Risen Jesus (and by an Angel)

Mt 28:9-10, Mk 16:9 Jn 20:17 Mt 28:2-7, Mk 16:5-8. (in Lk 24:1-12 the women told the others on their own initiative)

First to Proclaim the Resurrection

Jn 20:18, Mk 16:10 (Addendum), Lk 24:9-10 & attested to in Lk 24:22-24.