This section is excerpted from Holy Hands; Cooking & Crafting with the Saints, an e-book written by Dessi Jackson and Lynne Wardach, and available through Seton Magazine.
Short Story: St. Mary Magdalene
We all do things that we are not proud of, and we all (I hope) feel sorry for those actions. One lady who had many sins but repented, and whom Jesus forgave, was St. Mary Magdalene. She is a saint now. Her tears of repentance were so strong and pure.
So much was forgiven her that, in her cleansed soul, the only thing that could enter afterwards was love for Christ. She spoke much about Jesus. She became one of his disciples. I shall tell you one of the stories we know of this holy woman. And I tell it to my children every Easter.
One day the Emperor Tiberius gave a banquet. He had his loyal friends and many other famous and rich people at his palace. They all sat about, indulging in sweet wines, meats, and pastries. St. Mary Magdalene entered the hall , carrying some white eggs in a basket to present to him as a gift, and also as a witness to Christ’s Resurrection.
She said loud and clear what she knew to be true, “Christ has risen!” He laughed at her and the whole banquet hall rang with laughter from the guests.
He was still shaking with laughter when he replied to her, “Christ has no more risen than these eggs are red!” The laughter rang even more clearly now, but then one by one, they stopped laughing. The silence made St. Mary Magdalene look at her eggs in her basket.
They were all red! Brightly colored red like the blood of Christ shed on the Cross.
In my country, we always dye the first egg red. My grandmother traces the Sign of the Cross over our foreheads with it and she says, “Christ is Risen!” Unlike Tiberius we know the answer and we all say, “Truly He is risen!”
What a beautiful truth of our faith and hope: Christ’s Resurrection and the promise of our own resurrection one day.
St. Mary Magdalene’s Red Pickled Eggs – In the Kitchen
After Christ’s Ascension, Mary Magdalene became one of His greatest missionary disciples. Once, she was having dinner with the Emperor Tiberius in Rome. She brought some eggs to him as a gift, intending to use them as a symbol to witness to him about Christ’s Resurrection. Tiberius would not believe her, stating that Jesus was dead, just like the eggs. At that moment, the eggs on the table turned a brilliant red! Here are some brilliant red eggs for us to enjoy as we remember what a great witness Mary Magdalene had become for Christ.
You will need:
- 1 dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- The juice of 1 red beet, or 1 (15 oz) can of sliced beets with liquid
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks, 1 star anise, 5 allspice berries (optional)
Pack the hard boiled eggs into two glass quart jars.
Meanwhile, in a pot on the stove, bring the vinegar and water to a boil, add the beet juice, sugar and spices, and allow to boil for minute or two before turning off the heat.
Pour the hot brine over the eggs place the lids on the jars and allow to cool to room temperature.
You can keep the jars in the refrigerator for up to one month if you need to, but the eggs will be pickled through and ready to eat in only a few days.
Magdalene’s Aromatic Foot Scrub – For Our Neighbor!
Mary Magdalene was thought to be the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with aromatic ointment and dried them with her hair. In the hot, arid climate where Jesus lived, having clean feet was a necessary comfort. This aromatic foot scrub will remind you of the spices that Mary brought to anoint Our Lord, and will keep your feet clean and moisturized. Make one up for yourself and one for a neighbor in honor of the gift St. Mary Magdalene had given to Jesus.
You will need:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 drop orange essentail oil (optional)
- Olive oil
- Glass jars
- Decorative ribbon (optional)
In a bowl, combine white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and a drop of orange essential oil, if desired.
When this is well combined, add just enough olive oil to make it into a thick paste.
Put your scrub into clean glass jars, label them and add a decorative ribbon.
Holy Hands: Cooking & Crafting with the Saints
Inside are twelve short, mysterious and delightful stories of the Saints, packed with delicious recipes and crafts that will not only taste good, but fill your home with fragrance and good food!
These hands-on family activities are designed to provide beautiful teaching opportunities about the lives of these lesser-known saints, and the important message that their holiness and example should permeate our lives. Dessi Jackson, immigrant from Bulgaria and mother of six has collaborated with her daughter, Maria, to produce the stories. Lynne Wardach, Byzantine Catholic and mother of five teens created the accompanying crafts.
These authors present a fun, creative and inspiring collection of activities to bring your family together. You are encouraged to gather your children around you and read aloud the Saint story, and then work together to make St. Mamas’ Homemade Cheese, or the Seven Sleepers’ Pot Pies. And then, to teach children the beauty of sharing, create a St Rita of Cascia Rose-Petal Rosary or assemble the amazing Magdalene’s Aromatic Foot Scrub.
Each saint story comes with a related recipe and craft, so that each month you and your family can come together and incarnate the sweet sanctity of the saints in your homes!