Saint Mary Magdalene

The first witness of the resurrection.

Saint Mary Magdalene

In Dorothy Day's 1963 book Loaves and Fishes, she describes 30 days in the Women's House of Detention, a Manhattan prison, noting that her stay coincided with the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, which is today.

Day's cellmate, for a period of time, was a beautiful Jewish actress named Judith Malina, who co-founded a radical-left theatre troupe called The Living Theatre and, Day says, inspired the incarcerated sex workers, in particular, with her visions for the abolition of prisons.

When Judith first entered the Women's House, Day says, "one of the roughest of the Puerto Rican girls shouted, clutching at Judith, 'Let me have her'" — some kind of echo, I wonder, of John 20:17, when the resurrected Jesus told Mary, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended."

(A note about today's painting: from the early 17th century, it is one of many Marys by the first female artist to join the Florentine academy, Artemisia Gentileschi.)