The author of this piece was working on a historical restoration project when this inspirational moment occurred. She requested that her name not be used.
ONE EARLY WINTER MORNING, I was sitting alone in the balcony of the historic Original Edifice of The Mother Church in Boston as part of some work I was doing. Other than a few carpenters, whose footsteps and soft conversations I could hear below, the organist and I were the only ones in the auditorium. Then, as I looked up from my work, I saw her. For the past few months, I'd felt especially drawn to this particular stained glass window, depicting Mary Magdalene with the risen Christ. The window is called "Mary First at the Resurrection." For details, see Joseph Armstrong and Margaret Williamson, Building of The Mother Church, (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1980), p. 61 .
People have niggled over the details of this Mary's life for centuries—a little the way some of our celeb mags chew over juicy details in the lives of today's politicians and movie stars. For quite some time the gist of the tradition surrounding her was that she was what we might call "a woman with a past." The Gospel of Mark says simply that she is the woman out of whom Jesus "cast seven devils." See chapter 16, Verse 9. Some said she was a prostitute; others, that she was the woman "taken in adultery," whom Jesus saved from being stoned by a crowd of accusers who, until challenged by him, apparently thought they were pretty sinless themselves. See John 8:1—11.