Saint Mary, though a Jew, lived in a Gentile (non-Jewish) town called Magdale, hence acquiring her title of Magdalene.
The little information we have about St. Mary begins in the Bible. She is known to have been a notorious sinner but upon first encountering Jesus she felt great remorse for her evil life. Mary forced her way into the house of a rich man named Simon, with whom Jesus was dining, in order to pay homage to Our Lord. She wept for her sins and then dried Our Lord's feet, which were damp from her tears, with her hair and anointed them with costly perfume. St. Luke also that Jesus exorcised seven demons from her.
Mary was present at the foot of the Cross and was one of the women who brought perfumes and spices to Our Lord's tomb in order to anoint His Body. When Mary was in agony over the empty tomb, thinking someone had stolen Our Lord's Body, Christ appeared to her, in the first appearance since His resurrection, and instructed her to announce His resurrection to the disciples.
The legend surrounding Mary's life after the Crucifixion runs as follows. Fourteen years after Our Lord's resurrection the Jews put Mary into a boat without sails or oars, along with St. Lazarus, St. Martha, St. Maximin (who had baptized Mary), St. Sidonius ("the man born blind"), Mary's maid, Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Mother. They were put out on the ocean and eventually landed on the shores of Marseilles, France. St. Mary lived out the rest of her life as a contemplative hermitess in the cave of Sainte-Baume. Legend says that she ate nothing but the Holy Eucharist which was brought to her daily by angels.
Mary died of natural causes at the age of 72. Legend holds that she was miraculously transported, by nine angels, to the Chapel of St. Maximin where she received Last Rites. Her relics, including her head, were eventually returned to Sainte-Baume where they remain today.
St. Mary Magdalene is the patronees: against sexual temptation; of Anguiano, Spain; of apothecaries; of Atrani, Salerno, Italy; of Casamicciola, Italy; of contemplative life; of contemplatives; of converts; of druggists; of Elantxobe, Spain; of Foglizzo, Italy; of glove makers; of hairdressers; of hairstylists; of La Magdeleine, Italy; of penitent sinners; of penitent women; of people ridiculed for their piety; of perfumeries; of perfumers; of pharmacists; of reformed prostitutes; of tanners; and of women.