An old legend from South France states that Mary Magdalene lived in the cave “La Sainte Beaume” (I talked about that cave earlier on in the blog series) as a penitent for 30 years. When she felt she had only a little while left to live, angels carried her into the valley so that she was able to confess her sins to Bishop Maximinus before she passed away. At least this is how the legend portrays it.
Maximinus, the older bishop of Aix-en-Provence, traveled together with Mary Magdalene and her family and acquaintances from Galilaea to the South of France in order to spread Jesus’ doctrines. He was a loyal friend and companion to Mary Magdalene and was also in close contact with Martha and Lazarus. The provincial pilgrimage town of St. Maximin-la-Sainte-Beaume was named after him and legend has it that the village’s basilica houses his remains, as well as those of Mary Magdalene and some of her followers.
There’s another place in France, the city of Vezelay, which claims to be the final resting place of Mary Magdalene. Both of these places have developed into well known and popular pilgrimage destination over the last centuries.
Nobody knows where Mary Magdalene was indeed buried. When I get in contact with her, the answer is: “It is a place that nobody knows”, which is the feeling one gets when one stands in front of her sarcophagi in St. Maximin. Still, I included some photos here, because I visited the basilica and the crypt with my tour group in the fall.