Today is July 28th and it is Saint Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day Mass in St. Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. The Feast Day Mass is always held on the Sunday after the actual feast day (July 22nd), unless the feast day falls on a Sunday. Early in the morning the Association Santo Madaleno gathers together near the Basilique—the women in their traditional Provençal costume (many of these dresses have been handed down from generation to generation) and the Bravadeurs with their traditional clothing, hats and guns—all protectors of the faith.
T R A D I T I O N in France is something sacred.
They process together to important people in the town to announce the feast, and in return are offered a little café or petite déjeuner to start the festivities of the day.
Norbert Flayol and his Bravadeurs
Some horses from the Camargue take part in the procession.
Gun shots for Mayor Alain Penal, the Mairie de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume
Véronique Flayol and her friends of the Association Santo Madaleno
…. and then the whole town enters the Basilique Sainte Marie-Madeleine for the Feast Day Mass.
Saint Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day Mass
Many holy relics are kept behind the main altar and will be carried later in the day as part of the feast day procession.
When the holy Mass ended, everyone exited the Basilique.
Fr. Florian Racine (in the center of the above and below photos) is both founder of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist and pastor of the Basilique Sainte Marie-Madeleine.
Fr. Florian is a wonderful human being. He and his Order will have a great impact on the people of St. Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume for years to come, as well as on the whole world—for it is their mission to reach out to the whole world with their gift of teaching the value of and many graces received through Eucharistic Adoration.
We all went out to the square in front of the Basilique to have a nice celebration, with aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres. It was sunny and beautiful.
Fr. Sean and Norma
Véronique and Marilyn
Monsigneur Jean-Pierre Ravotti – Évêque des Armeés á Turin, Italy
Monsigneur Ravotti is originally from St. Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume and usually returns for the summer so that he is here to celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene.
We all wandered back into the Basilique on our own to get a closer look at the skull of St. Mary Magdalene in its gold reliquary. It seemed like a good time for a group photo.
We were invited by the Association Santo Madaleno to have lunch with them and the Dominican priests who had all come down from La Sainte-Baume for the Feast Day Mass. It was quite a joyful and fun gathering.
Elizabeth, Roberta and Peggy enjoying the moment.
Steven and Norma looking at all the photos.
The young men surprised us with their loud drums and flutes after lunch.
We walked back through the town to the Basilique where there would be a talk on the Life of Saint Mary Magdalene before the afternoon procession with all the relics.
A little Pellegrino is great on such a hot day.
Once everyone was seated, the talk on the Life of Saint Mary Magdalene was given from the large wooden pulpit in the middle of the Basilique. I am sure it was beautiful, but it was difficult for me to understand all because it was of course given in French.
And then Saint Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day Procession began…
…. with drums and music through the streets of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.
Many saints are represented in the Feast Day Procession, some with the actual relics, some with flags. Here you see flags of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (St. Mary Jacobé and St. Mary Salomé) and Sainte Sara.
This lady showed me her relic of Saint Anthony that came from Padua.
St. Antoine de Padua
St. Dominic—Founder of the Order of Preachers
Saint Mary Magdalene is Co-Patroness of the Order of Preachers
St. Maximin—one of the 72 disciples of Jesus Christ
Finally, the skull of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine in its gold reliquary
It was a glorious day…
… and were all grateful for having the privilege of being a part of it.
After the long day in St. Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume we returned to the hôtellerie by bus for dinner and then wandered in the back to find a place where we could gather to pray our final day of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.
Roberta and I were trying to figure out what the green balls were that were in the trees. I really don’t think they are nests. Then Katherine wrote and said they are mistletoe….. I think she is right.
All together we began our 9th and final day of prayer of the Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.
How special to have been here at La Sainte-Baume and to have prayed the nine days of the Novena so close to and in view of the Cave, in Provence—in Mary Magdalene country.
You can feel her spirit all around….
Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene—Day 9
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 28:7-10—Jesus Has Risen
7 And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you. 8 And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. 9 And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. 10 Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.
Gospel of Mark 16:7-11—Jesus Has Risen
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you. 8 But they going out, fled from the sepulchre. For a trembling and fear had seized them: and they said nothing to any man; for they were afraid. 9 But he rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 She went and told them that had been with him, who were mourning and weeping. 11 And they hearing that he was alive, and had been seen by her, did not believe.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Gospel of Luke 24:9-11—Jesus Has Risen
9 And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 And it was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And these words seemed to them as idle tales; and they did not believe them.
Gospel of John 20:17-18—17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.
Novena Prayer Day 9—Mary is doubly privileged as a witness: the first to see the Risen One, alive from the tomb, freed and delivered from death; but also the first to hear that He returns to the Father and she should tell the brothers. First messenger of the Resurrection and the Ascension. The tradition gives her the title “Apostle to the Apostles.” Actually, it was not to his Apostles that the risen Christ manifested himself, rather to these women who followed him from Galilee, beginning with Mary Magdalene. At the same time, it is certainly to the eleven that they are sent, and not directly to the world. Here is the plan of the fundamental structure of the church: all Christians can have an experience of God, a true knowledge of the “sensus fidei,” all the faithful are sent on the mission to give witness to Christ, but in communion with the apostolic hierarchy which confirms its authenticity. Mary Magdalene, of the seven demons, is sent as a witness of the divine mercy, just as Christ founded his church on the faith of Peter, who denied him: founded not on those who are perfect, but on those who are forgiven sinners. What a great blessing to know that none of us has to be perfect to be counted among the disciples of the Risen One. Each day, when we recognize the call of Christ in the world around us; the needs of the poor, the hungry and homeless, those who are hungry for the Word, those who could care less about the Word, those who are struggling to make ends meet, those whose hearts are broken by children who abandon the faith, – the list is endless – we are all called to give witness to the grace which we experience in our lives. Christ who conquered sin and death, is beside us as we conquer the small crises, and major tragedies of our lives. This is what is meant to share in His Paschal Mystery. Mary Magdelene’s life is testimony to the Paschal mystery. She was lifted up out of her guilt, her suffering and shame, because she allowed Jesus to do this for her. Are we ready to allow Jesus to do the same thing?
Closing Prayer—Lord, Our God, it was to Mary Magdalene that your beloved son entrusted the first announcement of the Paschal joy; grant to us, through her prayer and her example the grace to announce the risen Christ and to contemplate the day of His glory. He who lives and reigns for ever and ever. AMEN!