Today I went with a group of Sisters to view the exhibition Maria Magdalena at the Catharijn Convent, the museum of Dutch Christianity.

“Who is Mary to you ?” That was the question asked at the end of this exhibition prompting introspection and reflection. Seeing Mary from different angles represented by the church’s opinions  at different times, extra-biblical writings, art through the ages including contemporary music and song provokes and challenges inner thoughts. This, in addition to the intra-biblical confusion of Mary of Magdala and Mary of Bethany.

Who is Mary to me? I could easily have answered ‘Apostle of Apostles’ as when I present her as the first  and chosen bearer of the news of new life- Resurrection!  “Jesus is alive!” But then she’s more.

I looked t the Dutch artist’s contemporary painting- I need to check his name again. He continues to break the stereotypes. Mary sits in a place of power, enigmatic looking, sort of reclining in a powerful position with her legs not crossed but powerfully set apart.

Oh yes, Mary is more- a repentant sinner, a lover of Jesus, a portrait of new life… so, I found y way to answer in the poem below.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary:

who are you really?

Apostle of Apostles

for indeed he sent you first

to tell the men and others

to step out

from unsatisfying self-sufficiency

into God’s possibility




renewing and cleansing

comfort and healing

rest in reclining

and reaching

accepting, fulfilling

and reaching a place

of enabling peace

abundance and power

in God.