While we do not know for certain what happened, here are a few traditions passed down over the centuries.
She did exactly that and proclaimed to them, “I have seen the Lord!” After that, the rest of the Bible is silent in regards to where she went and what she did.
However, there are varying traditions that give some possibilities as to where she went after Jesus’ resurrection.
The medieval text known as the Golden Legend paints Mary Magdalene as a preacher. For example, it gives one story where Mary Magdalene teaches some pagans about Jesus Christ.
When blessed Mary Magdalene saw the people gathering at the shrine to offer sacrifice to the idols, she came forward, her manner calm and her face serene, and with well-chosen words called them away from the cult of idols and preached Christ fervidly to them.
After a few adventures preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Golden Legend claims that she went into solitude for the rest of her life.
At this time blessed Mary Magdalene, wishing to devote herself to heavenly contemplation, retired to an empty wilderness, and lived unknown for thirty years in a place made ready by the hands of angels.
According to this account, she died after receiving Holy Communion from a priest friend of hers who lived nearby.
On the other hand, the Catholic Encyclopedia relates a few differing stories.
The Greek Church maintains that the saint retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved. Gregory of Tours supports the statement that she went to Ephesus.
There is even a tradition that Mary Magdalene went to France. According to AtlasObscura, “When Mary Magdalene fled the Holy Land, legend says she took refuge in a cave [near the Sainte-Baume mountains in southern France]. This mountaintop cave is now a hidden monastery called the Sanctuary of Mary Magdalene.”
Some of her relics are reportedly located in a church in Aix-en-Provence, France, near where she was a hermit for 30 years.
It is uncertain which of these legends, if any, is true, but whatever the case might have been, Mary Magdalene likely had a privileged place in the early Church for her personal encounter with the risen Lord.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?