For decades, the Blessed Magdalene's charred skull has been on display, set in a gilded reliquary complete with flowing tresses of hair. It is kept in a bulletproof glass case at the church of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. In 1998, it was moved to a new location within the church for safety reasons.
During the French Revolution, the church was destroyed and its contents were sold at auction. The skull was among the items sold by the church and given as alms to poor people. Some say this is why there are no remains of the actual woman but rather just her skull.
The story goes that after the revolution, when the church was being rebuilt, the bones were found still in their box in a storeroom. Since they appeared to be those of a saint, they were left alone until 1831, when the priest decided to have them examined by experts. They were indeed confirmed as those of a female martyr and declared "Saint Mary Magdalene".
Since then, she has been honored annually on March 15.
Here is where the story gets interesting: not only is there only the skull of Mary Magdalene remaining, but no other parts of the body have ever been found.
Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume is a medieval village located outside of Aix-en-Provence in the Var region of southern France. Its basilica is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, and a glass dome beneath the crypt is supposed to house a relic of her skull. However, this tradition dates only back to 1838, when the skull was discovered during construction work on the basilica. Before that time, it is believed that her bones were kept at a different site within the town.
In Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, there are two sites that are connected with the burial place of Mary Magdalene: la Maison de Jeanne d'Arc and l'Eglise Ste. Marie-Madeleine. According to local legend, she was burned at the stake near where now stands the church of Ste. Marie-Madeleine in 1431. Her remains were then taken by night to an unknown location and buried underneath the altar of the church of Jeanne d'Arc.
In 1556, when a plague devastated Europe, her body was removed from its tomb and taken to a chapel in the castle of Villeneuve where she was buried next to other royal relatives. In 1838, when construction workers were digging under the altar of Ste. Marie-Madeleine looking for stone to use as ballast on a ship, they found the skull of Mary Magdalene.
This is the face of one of the Catholic Church's most famed ladies, according to those who think these are Mary Magdalene's bones. "We cannot be certain that this is the real skull of Mary Magdalene," says Philippe Charlier, a biological anthropologist at the University of Versailles. "But it is very likely."
The woman in question is one of Jesus' most beloved disciples. She has been remembered throughout history through stories and legends about her life. It isn't hard to see why she has captured the imagination of people for so long. According to the New Testament, Mary was a prostitute when she met Jesus. But after seeing his power and hearing his message, she became one of his most ardent followers.
She is mentioned by name in three verses of the gospels and has been the subject of many paintings and sculptures over the years. From the beginning, she has been portrayed as a mature young women with blond hair and blue eyes. No two sources agree on what kind of dress she was wearing, but they do seem to converge on a single image: that of a working class woman who had many children.
According to an ancient tradition preserved in the book of Luke, Mary died around AD 28. The story goes that after Jesus' death, she went to Galilee where she lived out her life in obscurity. However, recent research suggests that this may not have been true.
Based on computer modeling of the skull, the facial reconstruction represents a lady with a sharp nose, high cheekbones, and a round face. "We cannot be certain that this is the real skull of Mary Magdalene," says Philippe Charlier, a biological anthropologist at the University of Versailles.... The discovery was made in 2008 when archaeologists were examining the site of her execution during the reign of Emperor Domitian (81-96 A.D.). They were surprised to find the skeleton still intact because most people are killed by crucifixion which causes immediate death.
This means that this may not be the actual bone structure of Mary Magdalene but rather a representation of her face using modern day bones instead. There are several theories as to why she was put to death. Some believe it was for adultery while others say she was executed for practicing witchcraft. Either way, she was buried with all of her belongings including this necklace which helped identify her body after it had been crucified.
Mary Magdalene has been portrayed in movies and books about Jesus' life many times over the years. Here are just a few examples: Mary Magdalene in the Bible (1965 film); Mary Magdalene in popular culture; Mary Magdalene costumes. She has also appeared in other movies such as; The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Mary Magdalene (2013), and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
The lid of the tomb was removed, and a "beautiful and exceedingly pleasant scent" floated out, according to reports of the event. It was ascribed to the fragrant perfume used by Magdelene to anoint Jesus' feet. The forensic procedure used to rebuild Mary Magdalene's skull is comparable to that utilized by police across the world. It includes taking plaster impressions of her teeth, which are then used to make a mold of her skull. This allows doctors to accurately reproduce her facial features if needed for future reference.
In the New Testament, Mary is referred to as "Mary Magdalene." She was one of Jesus' followers and is mentioned in Luke 8:2-3 and John 20:1-18 among others. According to these texts, she was one of the few people who discovered where Jesus was buried. In John 20:11, Mary is described as coming to meet Jesus when he rose from the dead.
It is believed that Mary died around age 80. Reports indicate that she lived in Jerusalem and there are accounts of her being alive until she was over 100 years old. She may have been able to live longer because she was not exposed to the public eye after his death and could have led a quiet life. However, it is also reported that she went to France and started a church there because she felt God wanted her to do so.
It is known that she wore expensive clothes and she may have been involved in witchcraft because of this.
Another classic artwork depicts Mary Magdalene carrying a skull. This may appear to be a rather dismal image, but its objective is to remind us of our mortality. These are the words Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene following his resurrection, according to John. "The Scripture cannot be broken."
Jesus said these words before he ascended into heaven.
After he left her, Mary went back to Simon Peter's house and told him that Jesus was alive. Then, Peter went out to meet Jesus.
So, here we have another example of a woman who had significant impact on God's plan of salvation. Mary played an important role in bringing about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we should always strive to follow her example.