Marie Madeleine lived in Issoudun as a teenager and among the stories that we are familiar with from this period of her life is one about how she used to visit the sick in the hospice of St Roch. Visiting there you see an image of the women at the foot of the cross carved into the wall outside, and inside is a striking statue of Mary Magdalene clinging to the foot of the cross. Seeing these images I couldn’t but be led to consider the impact they would have had on Marie Madeleine’s spirituality and understanding of herself.
‘The cross will be our rallying point’
‘My name is Magdalene. I will follow my patron saint who so loved Jesus, … as to accompany him in his journeys and labours, ministering to him even to the foot of the cross with the other holy women who did not like the apostles, abandon him, but proved to be his faithful companions…’
Equally as striking is the large modern statue of Mary at the foot of the cross which is in the sanctuary and frames the altar at the Church of the Sacred Heart in the MSC centre where we stayed.
This image shows Mary holding one hand up towards the pierced side of her Son, whilst her other hand faces outwards. Mary is depicted as a strong and still, she doesn’t shy away from the suffering. Instead she appears to be receiving from Jesus, and giving. To me it is as though His life is flowing out through her to others.
Perhaps this is a helpful image for each of us as disciples… that of placing ourselves in such a way that Christs life can flow out though us to the world.