the life of saint mary magdalen

The Life of Saint Mary Magdalen. Domenico Cavalca. Translated by Valentina Hawtrey. Cover by Jessie M. King. John Lane, The Bodley Head, London and New York, 1904.

“At he time that Christ was on earth, and was preaching to men, Mary Magdalen was living in the same country; and she was the most beautiful woman that could be found in the world, excepting the Virgin Mary, who was more beautiful without compare, even in body. And as the Magdalen was beautiful, so she was of great intellect, though we must admit she was marred by evil desires.”

The Penitent Magdalen (1685-90). Carlo Cignani (Italian, 1628-1719). Oil on canvas. Dulwich Picture Gallery.

The French tradition is that Mary Magdalene came to Marseille and converted the whole of Provence. Mary Magdalene is said to have retired to a cave on a hill by Marseille, La Sainte-Baume, where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years.