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Mary Magdalene Relic back only 2nd time in US; 1st ever in West Coast!

Posted by Connie I. Ko on March 1, 2011 at 7:55 PM


       A relic of the “Apostle to the Apostles"--Mary Magdalene, controversial to this day and a subject of conspiracy theory claims in recent years--is back in the US for the second time, and on its 1st-ever tour in the  West Coast! The relic, a major part of the saint's tibia which is the inner bone of the lower leg (the large one extending from the knee to the ankle beside the fibula) is here for a four-week California tour.          

       The Tidings Staff Writer Paula Doyle reports that the tour started on St. Valentine’s Day, February 14, visiting Oakland first at St. Albert Priory, the Western Dominican Provincial House, and will be making other stops at 29 other churches in Northern and Southern California.    

       Of special interest to our local area here in the Valley is the relic tour stop at St. Dominic parish in Eagle Rock, March 2 from 1-9 p.m. The tour will continue to Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, March 3 (2-8 p.m.), and on to Sacred Heart Church, Los Angeles, March 4. (Full story & info below.)                             

        As previously reported here, Father Thomas Michelet, a French Dominican priest carried the reliquary containing the venerated bone on its maiden North American tour in October, 2009. He was accompanied by Richard Borgman, a former Protestant evangelical pastor who experienced a dramatic conversion to Catholicism nine years ago and who initiated the tour.  The two were guests of Father Mitch Pacwa on EWTN Live! when Fr. Mitch welcomed viewers by pointing out that the tour was a rare opportunity to get Mary Magdalene’s “true story” that they would not get from any “book or video stores” anywhere.

       The group revealed that it has been observed that Mary, the Patron of Penitents, is closely associated with the Holy Spirit’s Gift of Tears which is quite consistent with Mary’s appearances in the bible: as the repentant sinner washing Jesus’ feet with her tears; weeping at the foot of the Cross; and as Fr. Pacwa observed, as the first to see the Resurrected Christ prompting Jesus to ask: "Woman, why are you crying?" John 20:15

       Borgman also noted that two years ago when the relic was brought to Forteleza, Brazil and carried into a huge cathedral by four firemen, he witnessed "…thousands of people who were screaming and cheering and laughing and crying (italics mine) and jumping in the air. This is the holiness of Mary Magdalene and this is why I wanted to bring the relic to the United States."

       Below is the full story  on the current West Coast relic tour under way:

St. Dominic to host relic of St. Mary Magdalene March 2

BY PAULA DOYLE, Staff Writer

Reprinted w/ Permission from The Tidings


Relic of Mary Magdalene, a major piece of her right tibia. (Photo by Philippe Cosentino; Attribution: CC)  

        St. Dominic parish in Eagle rock will host a relic of St. Mary Magdalene March 2, 1-9 p.m., as part of a four-week California tour. French Dominican priests are accompanying the relic, a major piece of the saint’s right tibia, from its home at Sainte Baume cave in the South of France, where Mary Magdalene spent the last thirty years of her life in solitude and prayer.


        Accordingto Paula Lawlor, U.S. coordinator, the purpose of the tour (which ends in San Diego on March 15) is to share the holiness of the relic and to tell the story of the saint who is recorded as the first witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mary Magdalene is often referred to as “Apostle to the Apostles.”


        “This is going to be an amazing blessing for California,” said Lawlor, who noted that this is only the second U.S. tour for the relic, and its first appearance on the West Coast. The tour started on St. Valentine’s Day in Oakland at St. Albert Priory, the Western Dominican Provincial House, and encompasses 29 churches in Northern and Southern California.


        At most of the tour stops, there will be a mass with a homily of the life of Mary Magdalene by one of the accompanying Dominican priests, who live below the saint’s cave in Sainte Baume. Pope Boniface VIII published the pontifical bull for the establishment of the Dominicans at Sainte Baume and St. Maximin, town of the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene, shortly after the hidden tomb of the saint was discovered in 1279 by Charles II of Anjou, the Count of Provence.


Massif de la Sainte-Baume in France [Mountain ridge of Sainte Baume]. (Photo by Jodelet/Lépinay; Attribution: CC) 

        Tradition has it that some years after Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene was imprisoned. She and her companions were eventually released and put on a boat without sails, oars or provisions. Miraculously, the boat came to shore on the coast of France in a town near Marseille. After preaching with her companions and converting the whole of Provence, Mary Magdalene retired to the mountain caveat Sainte Baume.


        After visiting Saint Baume in 2009 where she prayed for a special intention and had her prayer answered the very next day, Lawlor, a Del Mar resident and mother of seven children, researched, wrote and self-published a book on the saint, “A Love Devout, The true Untold Story of Mary Magdalene.” The book bears an imprimatur from San Diego Bishop Robert Brom.       


        “Mary Magdalene is relevant today because she had a huge conversion [after Jesus exorcised her of seven demons] and it changed her life,” said Lawlor, who added that there is no indication in the Gospel that the saint was a prostitute.

        “I want to correct the misconception many have of this holy woman who was so very dear to the Heart of Jesus,” said Lawlor, who will be present at all the tour stops, including the visit to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atwater March 1.


        At St.Dominic on March 2, there will be a school procession into the church at 1p.m.followed by veneration until 9 p.m. At 6 p.m., there will be a special Mass with a guest homily by French Dominican Father Thomas Michelet. The tour will continue to Thomas Michelet. The tour will continue to Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula March 3 (2-8 p.m.), and on to Sacred Heart Church, Los Angeles,March 4 (8:30 a.m. Mass followed by veneration until noon).


        For further tour information or toorder Lawlor’s book on Mary Magdalene, log on to www.magdalenepublishing.org 

(Click for link to original Tidings Story)                

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Reply Thomas Pavey
6:10 AM on March 14, 2012 
Where will this relic be later in the year?
I live in Australia. Are there plans to bring the relic here?
Reply Connie
2:03 AM on March 16, 2012 
[Thomas Pavey]
Where will this relic be later in the year?
I live in Australia. Are there plans to bring the relic here?

I apologize for the belated reply! Our site Comments Notification is not that streamlined yet. Anyway, as I indicated above, the article on the relic's 2nd US tour was re-printed (w/ permission) from The Tidings publication. I'm afraid that is all the information we ourselves have to date. A (very!) quick web search I did yielded this link: http://frricksabbatical.blogspot.com/2011/02/relics-of-mary-magde

Hope you find it helpful! (Try the very first link on the page.)