Novena Tour Day 7—A day of contemplation, prayer & solitude at La Sainte-Baume – July 26, 2013

Today was a day for contemplation, prayer, solitude, sleeping or doing whatever you wanted to do. – nothing in particular was planned. Some spent some time in the Chapelle Sainte Marie-Madeleine, as our busy schedule the past few days has only allowed us time in the Chapel for Matines and Laudes in the morning and Complies in the evening.

Dominicans pray seven times a day:

Matines, Laudes, Sexte, Messe, Vêpres, Adoration, Complies 

All are invited to join them at any time in the Chapel. Their singing lifts you to another level of prayer. There is also an 11 AM daily Mass in the Cave.

Chapelle Sainte Marie-Madeleine

Chapelle Sainte Marie-Madeleine—in the hôtellerie

The artist who painted the frescoes in the Chapelle Sainte Marie-Madeleine of scenes from the life of Saint Mary Magdalene according to the “Golden Legend” was Frédéric Montenard.

Frederic Montenard


Frédéric Montenard was a French naturalist painter born in Paris in 1849. He was born into a Provençal family. He began his career in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. He regularly exhibited landscapes and seascapes. He participated in the creation of the National Society of Fine Arts.

After 1892 Montenard painted mainly in Provence. He taught at the School of Fine Arts in Toulon. He did large decorative compositions of landscapes and scenes of the Provençal life. Montenard got official commissions for several buildings, including the Palais des Arts de Marseille. In 1900 he completed two paintings at the restaurant Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon in Paris at the request of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company of Railways in Paris, Lyon and the Mediterranean.

Montenard painted the frescoes in the Chapelle Sainte Marie-Madeleine from 1911 to 1913. In 1921 he was appointed official painter to the Navy. He died in Besse-sur-Issole, in the Var, in 1926.

Saint Mary Magdalene preaching in the bay of Marseille

Saint Mary Magdalene preaching in the bay of Marseille

First meeting of Christ and Saint Mary Magdalene

First meeting of Christ and Saint Mary Magdalene who looks away from her home in Bethany

Saint Mary Magdalene outside her cave in the Sainte-Baume

Saint Mary Magdalene outside her cave in the Sainte-Baume

Saint Mary Magdalene raised up by angels at the top of St. Pilon

Saint Mary Magdalene raised up by angels at the top of St. Pilon

Mary Magdalene asking a hermit to warn Blessed Maximin of her approaching death

Mary Magdalene  asking a hermit to warn Blessed Maximin of her approaching death

Goats on a sunny hill side by Frédéric Montenard

Goats on a sunny hill side by Frédéric Montenard

If you have climbed up to St. Pilon you will see that the view from the Massif-de-la-Sainte-Baume is very similar to this painting. I was once on the top alone looking for St. Pilon and I saw a mother and baby goat. Montenard must have climbed up to St. Pilon while he was staying with the Dominicans.

Ste. Marthe, Ste. Marie-Madeleine and St. Lazare

Beautiful stained glass windows in the Chapel of the family from Bethany that Jesus knew so well and loved so much—Ste Marthe, Ste Marie-Madeleine and St Lazare.

Behind the Chapel.

Some spent the day outside behind the Chapel.


Some took time to rest in their rooms.

 little birdie

Claudia, my German friend, and I found a little birdie on the walking path who must have just come from the nest but did not know how to fly.

 grave of Edith Filliette

We thought someone might accidentally step on it so we carried it around the building to the cemetery that had nice high walls around it and placed the birdie on the grave of Edith Filliette (founder of the Society of Saint Mary Magdalene), asking her to take care of it.

Birdie Chirping

A few hours later we went back for a visit and the tiny little thing was still there chirping away, probably crying for its mommy to come back. So we crumbled up some bread and put it in water and sprinkled it on the grave near the birdie…. On our next visit it was no where to be found, and must have gone safely on its way….   merci Edith.

TreeHeading for the Cave of Eggs

The forest is so green and alive. Steven and Elizabeth ventured into it, heading for the Cave of Eggs. Apparently it was quite a dangerous path and just as they got near Elizabeth refused to go further. I don’t think I would recommend going there again.

Entrance to the Cave of Eggs

Entrance to the Cave of Eggs

Entrance to the Cave of Eggs

Several went back up to the Cave for some quiet time alone.

Cave of La Sainte-Baume

Entrance to the Cave of La Sainte-Baume

La Sainte-Baume

La Sainte-Baume


View of the Hotellerie-de-la-Sainte-Baume from the Cave

Elizabeth and Marilyn

Elizabeth and Marilyn reading scripture together

Novena to Saint Mary MagdaleneDay 7

Opening Prayer—Saint Mary Magdalene, you who were pardoned by Jesus, you who greatly loved; show us the way to true conversion and purity of heart. With love you followed Jesus to serve him; teach us to freely offer our lives for our brothers and sisters. You stood at the cross of Jesus with Mary and John. Obtain the grace of faith and hope in our sufferings. On Easter morning, you received from Jesus the mission of announcing the resurrection to His disciples. Help me to believe that life is stronger than death, that love triumphs over all. Dearest Saint Mary Magdalene, please intercede on behalf of my special intention (recite your special intention here). Through your intercession, I trust in the Lord, AMEN.

Gospel of Matthew 27:57-61—The Burial of Jesus

57 And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. 59 And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth. 60 And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. 61 And there was there Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

Gospel of Mark 15:42-47—The Burial of Jesus

42 And when evening was now come, (because it was the Parasceve, that is, the day before the sabbath,) 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 44 But Pilate wondered that he should be already dead. And sending for the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead. 45 And when he had understood it by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joseph, beheld where he was laid.

Gospel of Luke 23:50-56—The Burial of Jesus

50 And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man, 51 (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings;) of Arimathea, a city of Judea; who also himself looked for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53 And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid. 54 And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on. 55 And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment.

Gospel of John 19:38:42—Jesus is Buried

38 And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore and took away the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus also came (he who at the first came to Jesus by night), bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 They took therefore the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now there was in the place where he was crucified a garden: and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. 42 There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus: because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Novena Prayer Day 7—Mary Magdalene, witness to the resurrection, is also an eye witness to the empty tomb: she will attest that this is where they put him, and he is no longer there. With the other women, she has just enough time to bring back perfumes and ointments before the beginning of the Sabbath and the silence of the holy Saturday. Nicodemus also brings 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes: an uncommon amount, excessively generous. Christ is placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. The stone was rolled and night fell on the world.

Closing Prayer—Lord Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene followed you faithfully from Galilee to the foot of the cross and to the tomb. Help us also to follow you and to remain faithful to the end of our lives. You who reigns for ever and ever, AMEN.

Burial of Jesus

2 Responses to “Novena Tour Day 7—A day of contemplation, prayer & solitude at La Sainte-Baume – July 26, 2013”

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  1. Nancy Fusillo says:

    Dear Pilgrims:

    The peaceful solitude of the beautiful countryside permeates the day spent in prayer and reflection. The soft, colorful paintings of Edward Montenard display Mary’s beauty so reverently. Day-by-day, all of you must have grown in closeness to Mary of Magdalene appreciating the mission of discipleship that she bestowed on the French people. The cave echoes with a haunting atmosphere.

    Thank you all for sharing.

    Warmest Regards,

    Nancy Fusillo

  2. Jean Max Appanah says:

    We will begin construction of our new church Ste Marie Madeleine in the village of Pointe-aux-Sables in Mauritius in early 2014. We would like you to pray for our parish priest, his parishioners for the daunting task ahead. Please send your thought and prayers to the following email addresses and

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