Mary Magdalene in the South of France?! - ExpatJoy

ExpatJoy - Passionate Global Living with Sandra Bissell


Mary Magdalene in the South of France?!

A big attraction of embarking into the expat lifestyle is the possibility of adventure.

Yesterday, Brett (my husband), and I decided to check out a ‘myth’ well spread here in the South of France.

It says that a boat with no sails and no oars landed on the shores of Provence, bringing some of Jesus’ disciples, among them Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, Martha, and Maximin.

As you can imagine, we were curious.

After a quick stop at the Basilica of St. Maximin, where Mary Magdalene’s remains and those of other saints’, including Maximin’s, allegedly can be found, we headed to the grotto.


Legend says that Mary Magdalene, after teaching in Marseille for while, took refuge in a cave in the steep mountains of Sainte Baume, where she lived for the last thirty years of her life.

Today, the Grotto in Saint Baume is a sanctuary taken care by Dominican Friars, open daily to both believers and non-believers. Also, a holy mass is celebrated everyday at 11am.

As Brett and I arrived at the grotto, I felt part of history learning that since 415, monks, later replaced by friars, kept this place of worship, in this steep mountain.

‘To those who travel to the South of France and climb the mountain through the forest up to the cave – the summit of human and divine affections. May you be blessed abundantly.’  (Paula Lawlor  – A Love Devout.)

Some articles and blog posts I read before visiting the lonely and beautiful place where Mary Magdalene is said to have settled, in prayer and meditation, during the latter part of her life.

  1. Is this the face of Mary Magdalene? (National Geographic)
  2. Sainte-Baume, Rock of Mercy (Sainte Baume Org.)
  3. The Cave of Magdalene… a French Experience. (Mary Magdalene Wisdom)

With Joy,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


My name is Sandra Bissell.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to live as an expatriate for more than 2 decades.

Some of my passions are people, my family, good conversations, traveling, ethnic food, dancing and Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian-Martial-Art-Dance.

Originally from the countryside of São Paulo state, in Brazil, I have enjoyed life in Kanagawa and Aichi prefectures, in Japan, Boston and San Diego cities, in the United States, São Paulo, Brazil, as an expatriate in my own country, Zurich – Switzerland and most recently Stamford, Connecticut, back to the United States.

As you may guess, I feel the most comfortable within the international community.
ExpatJoy - Passionate Global Living with Sandra Bissell


    +1 860 506 5115