Mary Magdalene France Pilgrimage—July 2017

July 18-25, 2017

La Sainte-Baume—the Cave where Mary Magdalene
spent the last thirty years of her life in prayer and contemplation

This 7-Day Mary Magdalene France Pilgrimage is now fully reserved.

We will stay in or very near the town of St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume (which houses the Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene) for the entire 7 nights, and follow the path of Saint Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection when she came to Provence (47AD) and ended up spending the last thirty years of her life in a Cave up a mountain called La Sainte Baume.

If you are interested in flying to the South of France and spending time to get to know this exceptional friend of Jesus in a very personal way, please contact me (Paula Lawlor) and I will see how I can help you.

Contact Paula Lawlor

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Mary Magdalene France Pilgrimage 2017

Our 9-day Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene will be prayed throughout the pilgrimage.

 

St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Tarascon & Apt

Marseille

La Sainte-Baume

St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume

Aix-en-Provence

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 I T I N E R A R Y

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DAY 1 — TUESDAY, July 18th
Arrive at Marseille Airport

Transport from Marseille Airport to St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume (about a 1 hour drive). Unpack and relax, have a light lunch and then visit the Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene. After dinner we’ll pray the 3rd day of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene in St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume

For the special Feast Day Week of Fesitvities, the Skull of Mary Magdalene in its gold reliquary is taken from the Crypt and brought up to the altar of the Basilica.

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DAY 2 — WEDNESDAY, July 19th
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

After breakfast we will drive to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue where the Rhône River meets the Mediterranean Sea (about a 2 hour drive). This is the place where Mary Magdalene and her companions landed in 47 AD. Two of Mary Magdalene’s companions on the boat were the two Marys with her at the Empty Tomb (Saint Mary Salome, the wife of Zebedee and mother of James the greater and John the beloved, and Saint Mary Jacobe, the mother of James the less). These two Marys never left Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. We will visit the old parish church (a fortress) where the remains were discovered in 1448 by Rene d’Anjou or “The Good King Rene,” the last ruler of Provence.

NOTE: Other companions on the boat with Mary Magdalene when she landed here in 47 AD were her brother Lazarus, her sister, Martha, Maximin (one of the 72 disciples of Christ), Marcelle (Martha’s maid), and Cedonius (the blind man Jesus healed). Also on the boat were the remains of Saint Anne, the mother of the Blessed Mother, as they did not want to leave them in Palestine.

Saint Mary Jacobe and Saint Mary Salome

Parish church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

This statue on the side altar in the parish church is of Saint Mary Salome and Saint Mary Jacobe. A large glass encases their relics on the other side of the church.

 

Below the altar is a shrine to Saint Sarah. Tradition says Saint Sarah was the one who greeted the three Marys and their companions when they arrived in 47 AD. And Saint Sarah was maid to the two Marys. The gypsies celebrate Saint Sarah’s feast day each year on May 24th.

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As we drive through the little fishing village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer we will see the very large CAMARGUE CROSS, a symbol of faith, hope and love—Cross for FAITH, Anchor for HOPE and heart for LOVE. We will have lunch overlooking the Mediterranean at Brasserie Le Belvédère.

CAMARGUE CROSS

Brasserie Le Belvédère

After lunch we will take a relaxing boat ride up the Camargue to see the wildlife—Camargue horses & bulls who roam free and a wide variety of beautiful birds, including the purple heron and pink flamingo. We will have a little time for shopping in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer after the boat ride and then return to St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume where we will have dinner and then pray Day 4 of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

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DAY 3 — THURSDAY, July 20th
Tarascon & Apt

Today we will visit both the relics of Saint Martha, sister of Saint Mary Magdalene, and Saint Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After breakfast we will drive to Tarascon (about a 2 hour drive) to visit the cathedral where the relics of St Martha were discovered (in 1187 during a reconstruction of the church). Martha is also the sister of Lazarus.

Relics of Saint Martha

Then we will drive about 1 hour east to the town of Apt where we will first have lunch and then visit the Crypt of Saint Anne in Saint Anne Cathedral.

Cathedral of Saint Anne in Apt

After being buried for centuries, the relics of Saint Anne were miraculously discovered: On Easter in the year 792, Charlemagne discovered the relics of Saint Anne here in the Crypt of this church with the help of a deaf handicapped boy. The story is wonderful – read here.

CRYPT OF SAINT ANNE
St. Auspicius, first bishop of Apta Julia, celebrated the Holy Mass here in the 1st century. St. Auspicius was the one to hide the relics of Saint Anne.

After a long day visiting two very special places we will drive back to St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, have dinner and then pray Day 5 of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

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DAY 4 — FRIDAY, July 21st
Marseille

After breakfast we will drive to the oldest city in France. The French city of Marseille was founded about 2600 years ago by the Greeks. After Mary Magdalene and her companions landed in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, she went with her brother Lazarus (who became the first bishop of Marseille) and Maximin (the first bishop of Aix) to Marseille, probably by boat. We will visit Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the Neo-Byzantine basilica atop the highest hill in Marseille, which has a panoramic view of the Bay of Marseille and the Mediterranean beyond.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

You can see the Bay of Marseille behind Maddy, who is sitting on the top of the high wall of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. It is truly a spectacular view of both the bay and the Mediterranean. Maddy (Madeline Surman) came on this pilgrimage last summer with her parents Rita and Mike from Canada.

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 Then we will drive down by the port to the Abbey of St Victor.

Tradition holds that in about 415 AD, John Cassian founded two monasteries of St Victor at Marseille, one for men (the later Abbey of St Victor), the other for women. We will have a tour of the crypt.

Lazarus Confessional in the crypt of the Abbey of St Victor
with a relief of Mary Magdalene at La Sainte-Baume over the altar

Au Vieux Clocher (in the Panier district) is where we will have lunchEither before or after lunch we’ll stop in the shop that sells Marseille Soap and look up and see Les Accoules bell tower. We will walk through Place de Lenche (where Lazarus was imprisoned and beheaded) and over to the Cathedral of Saint Mary Major which contains the skull of Lazarus and the tomb of Saint Eugene de Mazenod.

Au Vieux Clocher

Marseille Soap Shop

Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeur which has the skull of Lazarus

This will be a wonderful day in old Marseille. We will drive back to St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume where we can relax a little before dinner. After dinner we’ll pray Day 6 of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

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DAY 5 — SATURDAY, July 22nd
La Sainte Baume
Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

Today is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. It is traditionally celebrated with a pilgrimage to the Cave of La Sainte Baume and a Mass inside the Cave. We will drive about 25 minutes after breakfast to get to the plain below the Cave.

La Sainte Baume, the Cave of Mary Magdalene, is above the forest in the side of the mountain rock.

We will gather with other pilgrims outside the Hôtellerie-de-la-Sainte-Baume, run by the Dominicans, before we begin the procession up to the Cave to celebrate her feast day. These Dominicans have been guarding the relic in the Cave for the past 800 years.

Everyone processes up to the Cave singing and praying.

Statue of Saint Mary Magdalene Carried by Angels in the Cave

After Mass in the Cave we will stay up there and eat our picnic lunch which we will have carried with us. Then we will go back down the mountain, visit the hôtellerie and the gift shop and the grounds and return to St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume where we will have dinner and pray Day 7 of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

Chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene in the Hôtellerie-de-la-Sainte-Baume

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DAY 6 — SUNDAY, July 23rd
St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume
Feast Day Mass & Procession

The Feast of Mary Magdalene is celebrated by everyone in the town after the Sunday Feast Day Mass with parties and a lovely procession through the streets of the town of St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. It all begins after breakfast.

We’ll have lunch after the Mass and then continue with the festivities throughout the day. We’ll relax before dinner and then after dinner we will pray Day 8 of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

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DAY 7 — MONDAY, July 24th
Aix-en-Provence

On our final day of the pilgrimage we will take a short ride to Aix-en-Provence (about 35 minutes away). Aix-en-Provence is one of the loveliest towns in Provence. We will walk from one side of the center of Aix to the other (where cars cannot go), passing by the many fountains and all the outdoor Markets. Markets in Aix are something special. There is time for shopping….

Market Day Aix Provence by Sharon Furner
(Sharon is one of my favorite artists)

We will visit the Cathédrale Saint Sauveur where Mary Magdalene and St Maximin (the first bishop of Aix) dedicated the first chapel to Jesus Christ. The remains of the floor of this chapel are inside the Cathedral. If we are lucky we will get into the Sacristy of the Cathedral (normally kept locked) where there is a relic of the actual foot of St Andrew the Apostle and relics of St Maximin (one of the 72 disciples of Christ).

Cathédrale Saint Sauveur

Les Deux Garçons

After lunch we’ll walk down the street to the Chapel of the Oblates where Saint Eugene de Mazenod founded the Missionaries of Provence (1826) which was later called the Congregation of the “Oblates of Mary Immaculate.” Eugene de Mazenod was said to have “A heart as big as the world.” He later became the Bishop of Marseille. We will learn more about Eugene de Mazenod in Marseille.

Inside the Chapel of the Oblates there is a lovely statue of Saint Mary Magdalene.

After a beautiful day in Aix we will go back to St Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, have dinner and begin to pack our bags for our return home. We will close the pilgrimage by praying Day 9 of our Novena to Saint Mary Magdalene.

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DAY 8 — TUESDAY, July 25th
Fly back home from Marseille Airport

Early morning transport to Marseille Airport….

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If you are interested in flying to the South of France and spending time to get to know this exceptional friend of Jesus in a very personal way, please contact me (Paula Lawlor) and I will see how I can help you.

Contact Paula Lawlor

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