In the footsteps of MATILDA of TUSCANY

Those of you who have read ‘The Book of Love’ by Kathleen McGowan are familiar with the book’s protagonist. I am referring to MATILDA OF TUSCANY, a marchioness who approximately lived between 1046 and 1115 in Tuscany and the region around Mantua and played an important role from a historical viewpoint. In the novel of Kathleen McGowan she is considered to be a descendant of the bloodline of MARY MAGDALENE who was given an education that befitted her rank in Florence.

Quotation: „… Mathilda had also not had any real spiritual education for almost two years, critical years in a child’s development . … would relocate to Florence, where the Order (of the Holy Grail) had a base, a monastery at the edge of the river Arno, whch had been named for the Holy Trinity, SANTA TRINITA. A secretive and somewhat mysterious community of monks with ties to the Order had built a monasterythere in the tenth century, under the patronage of Siegfrid of Lucca, Mathilda’s legendary great-great-grandfather. The monks were not only sympathetic to the origins of the Order, some of them were descended from the most powerful bloodline families themselves and were sworn members.“ (from „The Book of Love“ by Kathleen McGowan, p. 147)

Most of the people who visit this church admire the numerous other masterpieces and wait in a line so that they get a chance to take pictures of them. Hardly anybody takes notice of Mary Magdalene. I brought back some photos of her statue, which was created in 1450, from my stay in Florence.

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Mary Magdalene in Florence (Italy)

Florence is a paradise for art enthusiasts! At every turn, they come across unspeakable treasures and rarities from earlier centuries, the density of which seems to be an Italian idiosyncrasy. Many of the churches are decorated with the works of old masters, which usually are only to be found in museums.

During my preparations for our ‘Spiritual Journey through Tuscany’ next autumn, I also visited the church Santa Maria Novella, which is noted in many guidebooks. The atmosphere of the church, however, is rather suggestive of an art gallery and I was unable to sense any special energies. Nevertheless, there was one piece that impressed me considerably, namely the scene of the entombment, which can be found in an inconspicuous alcove inside the church. Immediately, the following question forced itself upon me: which one of the women is MARY MAGDALENE?

The Magdalene is usually represented in the colours red and green and another remarkable feature is her long, red, flowing hair. The person at the far right in the mural painting doubtlessly represents Jesus’ ‘favourite disciple’, whose clothes are red and green as well. Could this be an allusion to Mary Magdalene, who actually is Jesus’ ‘first disciple’ and follower?

The woman to the left of Mother Mary wears the colours red and green too. Could this be Mary Magdalene or Mary Jacobe or Mary Salome? If so, who is the lady in red with the headgear? Doesn’t she look like a queen? Martha, Mary Magdalene’s sister, is frequently represented in red, but still I do not believe that Martha is portrayed here.

Mary Magdalene, who is considered to be Jesus’ wife in old writings and whose rank thus is tantamount to a queen’s, would soonest live up to this role. …

The truth – once again – is in the eye of the beholder.

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