Rita is a member of Ascension parish in New York City where she teaches Confirmation. She is on FutureChurch’s Board of Directors and is committed to restoring our historical memory of early Christian women leaders with a special focus on Mary Magdalene and the women omitted from our Sunday Lectionary readings. Rita has researched the questions, “Why, in 591, did Pope Gregory I distort Mary Magdalene by conflating her with Luke’s unnamed sinner (7.36-50) and Mary of Bethany?” “Why do so many still believe the legends, versus the scripture today?” She is documenting answers and working to share the history of the conflation and of its effects.
New art is needed to counter centuries of negative images of Mary Magdalene. Examples are the sculpted relief – “Mary Magdalene Proclaims the Resurrection” (Margaret Beaudette, SC, 2014) and Laura James’ series, “Mary Magdalene and the Risen Jesus” commissioned in 2021.
In June 2015, working with a small group, Rita requested that Pope Francis correct the false legend, elevate Mary Magdalene’s memorial to a Solemnity and add John 20: 10-18 to Easter Sunday. On June 3, 2016, the Vatican changed her mass to a Feast (a level below a Solemnity) and issued a decree declaring her an apostle and evangelizer. She and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are the only women with Feast designations. These are great steps, but more needs to be done to fully restore Mary Magdalene and other New Testament women to their rightful places in our liturgies and imaginations. One vehicle for those changes, the “ReclaimMagdalene” project. Please spread the word on the real Mary Magdalene.
Rita had a 32+ year career at IBM, in sales and Change Strategy Consulting and has a BA in Psychology and Philosophy (Newton College of the Sacred Heart, now Boston College) and an MA in Educational Psychology from NYU.
Links to videos of Boston College’s Mary of Magdala lectures, BC’s online Mary of Magdala course, and the Vatican’s 2016 Decree elevating her memorial to a Feast:
With today’s chaos of wars, famines, natural disasters, compounded by political factions and grievances we need to maintain faith in the God of the Living and Practice Gratitude.VIEW
We must preserve and pass on Mary Magdalene’s pivotal role in bringing the story of the Resurrection to us. If our bishops, cardinals, priests and pope cannot see her, can they see me, can they see you? Without her witness, where would we be?VIEW
We adults need to be this woman of worth and integrity more than ever today. Imagine if all our daughters and sons saw themselves in her and imagine if they received the “Torah of kindness” from our lips.VIEW