Saint Mary Magdalene is among the most important patronesses of the Dominican Order, known as the Apostola Apostolorum, the Apostle to the Apostles, as she was the first to be confided the Gospel of the Lord's resurrection and charged with bringing it to the Apostles.
From the Scriptures, we know that she was a follower of Jesus and that he had freed her from seven demons. She was present at the foot of the cross and met the risen Lord Easter morning. Later tradition melted her together with two other women of the Gospels: Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the sinful woman anointing Jesus in Luke's Gospel. This led to the status she has as the type of the penitent sinner, the one who has received mercy.
However, even if we keep her separate from these two other figures, Mary Magdalene remains a strong example of a recipient of the Lord's mercy. Was it not mercy who led Jesus to free her from her demons, as he did with so many others? And is it not an act of His merciful love to comfort her and stop her tears where she stands weeping at the tomb?
Mary Magdalene also shows us the best response to God's mercy in our lives: A faithful following of Christ, a joyful proclamation of His wondrous works to others.
The 19th century French Dominican H.-M- Lacordaire writes:
Thus, in this solemn moment of the resurrection of the Saviour, a moment that settled everything, the victory of God over the world and of Life over Death, it is not to his mother that Jesus appears first; it is not to St. Peter, the foundation of the Church and the summit of theology; it is not to St. John, the well-loved disciple; it is to Mary Magdalene. That is to say, to the converted sinner, to Sin become Love through penitence. The Saviour had said before: “There is more joy in Heaven over a sinner who repents than over 99 just, who have no need of repentance.” But it was a truly sublime translation of these words, the privilege accorded to Mary Magdalene to see first the Son of Man risen from the tomb, conqueror of the Devil, of Sin, of the world, of death, and to acquire first, by this view, the certitude and the consolation of the eternal salvation of mankind. Her degree of love must have earned the glory of His appearance, and what feelings on her part must have welcomed this reward of love! I only half understand it, I glimpse it, I adore it, and, if I can do no more, at least I pull myself short with a reflection that makes me turn toward these words of the Gospel: “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” It is there, on the forehead of this illustrious and fortunate woman, a star that does not pale, and that will make to rejoice till the end of time all those who study it, with a soul enlightened by God, the mysteries of his dealings with us.
(From Henri-Marie Lacordaire O.P.: Life of Mary Magdalene, translation Peter T. Hancock 2006)