Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus. She was called Magdalene because she was from the town of Magdala, which was a prosperous Gentile town. Mary was said to have lived as a Gentile, even though she was Jewish. St. Luke's Gospel places her at the head of its list of the women of Galilee.
Legend has it that Mary Magdalene led a life of sin, and it was assumed that she was a prostitute. This belief was so pervasive that the Catholic church established Magdalen houses for fallen women. That Mary Magdalene led an unsavory life is affirmed for many people by the fact that Jesus cast seven demons from her. After that event, Mary became a devoted follower of Jesus. She stood at the cross when he was crucified and was the first person to see him when he rose from the tomb.
Some religious thinkers believe she is the sister of Martha and Lazarus, the Mary who sat at Jesus' feet, or the woman taken in adultery who was never named. Others believe that these are three separate women.
Other stories have Mary Magdalene accompanying Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Ephesus and living with the older woman till she died. After the death of Jesus' mother, Mary Magdalene is said to have retired to France. Her feast day is July 22.