Mary Magdalene was a harlot from Magdala. The Bible contains little information about her. She became one of Christ’s most faithful followers. Shortly after his crucifixion Mary Magdalene discovered his empty tomb. Somewhat later she mistook him as a gardener. When she embraced him, he said in Latin Noli me tangere, ‘Touch me not,’ because he was about to abandon his earthy existence.
Other stories about Mary Magdalene arose in the Middle Ages, such as that of Simon of Bethany who invited Christ to dine with him. To Simon’s displeasure a sinful woman anointed the feet of Christ, who defended her and forgave her all her sins. This woman is thought to be Mary Magdalene. For this reason she is often shown with a jar of ointment. After Christ’s death, Mary Magdalene did penance in a desert for 30 years, clad in nothing but her own long hair. Angels bore her aloft seven times a day to nourish her with heavenly music.