According to tradition, the Sanctuary of Sainte-Baume is the site where St. Mary Magdalene settled after the Resurrection.
A new pilgrimage dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene has been inaugurated in France. The 147-mile route retraces the steps of the “disciple of disciples” through the Camargue and Provence regions.
St. Mary Magdalene has long been an important figure for French Catholics. Tradition holds that she traveled to Europe after the Resurrection, where she helped to spread Christianity. St. Mary Magdalene eventually settled in a grotto in the South of France, known today as the Sanctuary of Sainte-Baume.
The Dominican-run Sanctuary of Sainte-Baume is now also the starting point of the new pilgrimage. NCR reports that it was at the St. Baume Hostelry that the inauguration Mass was celebrated by the vicar general of the Diocese of Marseille, Father Pierre Brunet. According to NCR, Fr. Brunet said on the occasion:
“This path of tradition will be a tool of transmission,” he said. “It will allow [the pilgrims] to go from a place to another, from one love to another, giving thanks to Mary Magdalene’s humility.”
For ease of access, the Dominicans run an on-site hostel where pilgrims can stay. They offer modest rooms to rent, which include three meals per day. The hostel has its own chapel where visitors can pray, but it is also very close to the Sanctuary. There is also a gift shop located within the hostel.
Sainte-Baume recently completed a series of renovations to address rock-fall concerns. The work, which took place from June 2020 until recently, has restored and made the area safer than ever before. Now, with the area reopened, the Dominican friars hope to welcome more pilgrims than ever before.