Faith Matters

Reading for Lent: Women Leaders in the Church

Mary Magdalene and the Gardener: Women Leaders in the Church, by Brian Lennon SJ

Mary Magdalene and the Gardener: Women Leaders in the Church

By Brian Lennon SJ

'MARY Magdalene' is perhaps one of the best known names in history through her important role in the story of Jesus Christ.

She was a prominent follower of Jesus but, as we travel through Lent and towards Easter, we remember her also as a witness to the crucifixion; three days later, she - with a group of other women - was the first witness of the empty tomb and of the risen Jesus himself.

In his latest book, prolific Jesuit writer Fr Brian Lennon argues that despite being such a recognisable figure in the Gospel story of Jesus, Mary Magdalene is also one of the most misunderstood.

Looking at Mary and her relationship with Jesus, the 'Gardener', Lennon asks what we can learn about the future role of women in the Church: "Why is it, that since it was Mary Magdalene - a woman - who brought the dramatic news of the resurrection, have women not been given equal decision-making weight within our Church?"

Lennon has spent more than 40 years working in Northern Ireland and chairs the board of the Jesuit Refugee Service. He is also secretary of Dialogue For Diversity, which works on issues of migrants, prisoners, conflict, community development and climate.

Mary Magdalene and the Gardener: Women Leaders in the Church, by Brian Lennon SJ with a foreword by Rev Ruth Patterson, is published by Messenger Publications, £7.50.

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