NAME: Hebrew, prob Egyptian in origin, linked to verb "love; last name means "native of Magdala"
EARTHLY LIFE: First century, Palestine
CHARACTERISTICS AND ACTIVITY: Sinner who asked Jesus' forgiveness; first witness of Resurrection
PATRON OF: Gardeners; hairdressers; perfume makers; glove makers; repentant sinners
CONNECTIONS W/ OTHER SAINTS: Her sister Martha; her brother Lazarus
SYMBOLS: Either elegantly dressed, partly dressed or nude/covered only with long hair; attributes are jar of ointment and hermit's belongings
(Blatently stolen from "Saints in Art" by Rosa Giorgi, Trans. by T. M. Hartmann)
Ah, Mary Magdalene. Legend has it that she was a prostitute, but whether she actually was or not is unclear. What she did do is start weeping on Jesus' feet, then dried them with her hair, then annointed them with costly ointment. The Apostles were all, like, "Dude, you could sell that stuff and give the money to the poor."
To which Jesus replied, "You will always have the poor, and can give money to them whenever you wish, but you won't always have me."
People like to gloss that one over.