The shinbone of one of Christianity’s most important people will be on display today at the St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Berkeley.

It’s appropriate that the shinbone will be on view at that particular church, since the bone comes from Mary Magdalene herself. She was the first person to witness Jesus’ resurrection.

The 2,000-year-old relic is supposed to be Mary Magdalene’s tibia. It has been touring the United States since 2009. It was displayed in Oakland earlier this week and will make its way to other cities in the Bay Area after it leaves Berkeley.

The relic was scheduled to arrive at the St. Mary Magdalene Parish at 2005 Berryman Street at 1 pm today. It will be on display until 9 pm.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

46 replies on “Relic of Mary Magdalen on display in Berkeley today”

  1. You and Melenie are a matched set marching in lockstep to a leader taking you both over a cliff. As you are falling may you call out to He who suffered and died for us all. Surely His loving arms WILL be there to carry you safely home.

  2. Looks like you’re making the decision to be condescending right to the bitter end, Mary Ann. Oh well. You seem like a relatively intelligent woman and Melanie and I have pointed out what you’re doing well enough that you should be able to see it if you want to. If you decide to ignore what we’ve said that is your choice to make. If you truly want to live your life wallowing in self-ignorance and bigotry you have every right to do so.

  3. Name withheld: I would be lying if I admitted to being in any way angry. I can only think that there is no way for you to react to my beliefs other than “thinking” I am angry when I am not at all.
    Perhaps I am misreading your anger as well. I can only say that we are all given free will. You have made it perfectly clear what you have decided to do with yours. I have been clear in what I choose to do with mine. I hope your way is providing you with the same peace and joy in life that my choice is providing me. If you interpret that as being condescending or angry then what am I to say? Have a great life. Sooner or later we will both have the answers.

  4. @ Mary Ann ––– Who’s angry? I find it a bit bizarre that you feel the need to purposefully go out of your way to *try* to anger and offend others while claiming to be attempting to help them. It’s all well and good to make an attempt at outreach, but at this point you’ve gone beyond that into simple condescension. You’re not really trying to win converts, you’re just trying to make other people angry. When you try to use your beliefs to offend others you are no longer proselytizing, but using your religious beliefs as a weapon to attack others, and I’m not sure Christ would have agreed with that. Personally speaking I am neither angered nor offended by people like you, but anyone who tries to weaponize their religious beliefs deserves a fair amount of pity.

    @ Melanie ––– I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t have a problem with the article saying that the shin bone is that of Mary Madeline (despite the fact that this is unverified and highly dubious given the Catholic Church’s history in manufacturing relics) but reporting on the Resurrection as Historical Fact in such a blunt and unquestioning way is a bit much. Imagine if Berkeleyside was writing an article about a Hindi event and reported on their belief in reincarnation as fact – Would you still feel that was acceptable from a news outlet?

  5. @ Name Witheld “My point was merely that a very slight change in the wording of this article could have made it more neutral, and potentially avoided this kind of pointless bickering”

    What’s the fun in that?
    Pointless bickering is something Berkeleyites do so well.

  6. Once again, the anger comes out. It is obvious that you are angered by those who love God.
    It is difficult to hand feed a bear! That’s what it’s like trying to talk to atheist about God and religion. I am not putting you down. Just because I spoke of reasons for disbelief doesn’t mean I am putting you down.

    I can come to the point and say,” Name Withheld, God loves you very much and desires for you to speak to Him”. If you make the effort He will reveal Himself to you. In this changing world God is changeless. He Loves You 🙂 And there is nothing you or anyone can do or say to change that ! God Bless You.

  7. Mary Ann says: “Those who protest every mention of His name,in my estimation, actually DO believe God exists BUT are mad at Him for things not going well in their lives.”

    No one protested the mention of the name of a God. They protested the non-neutral wording choices of a normally neutral news outlet.

    The rest of your ridiculously broad and over-zealous attacks at those who do not share your same beliefs isn’t worth responding to other than to say that you sure do seem to relish in putting down those who you claim to be reaching out to.

  8. Name withheld: I’d say the “whinning started on the 3rd comment and degraded from there. If, for instance, Bill Maher was interviewed I would not have said a word. Most religious people are used to him spewning his venom. I truly believe that “real” non-believers have a live and let live attitude about God/religion. Those who protest every mention of His name,in my estimation, actually DO believe God exists BUT are mad at Him for things not going well in their lives. Perpetually ticked at God. Vast majority have very bad “father” complexes. They couldn’t trust “Dad” and they can’t trust God. I can sympathize and even understand it to some extent. I don’t know what it’s like having had parents I couldn’t trust and depend on. I have always thought I was able to know and love God easily because I have been blest with such loving parents, who to a child are our “first” God.
    As far as Melanie being annoyed by a condescending attitude of concern from a believer, what can I say except we are called to,” love our neighbor as we love ourselves. ” It’s not hinged on our neighbor giving us permission to love them. We do it anyway. It’s what we would hope someone would do for us if we didn’t believe. It’s as simple as that!

  9. @ Thomas Lord ––– My point was merely that a very slight change in the wording of this article could have made it more neutral, and potentially avoided this kind of pointless bickering in the comments. Reporting on Christian dogma as fact isn’t just offensive to Atheists & Agnostics. What about Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc? I can’t think of a very good argument for a news organization *not* to go neutral on religious issues.

    =================================
    Mary Ann says: “A ‘believers’ reaction to an athiest [sic] is always one of concern (not a bad feeling to have for another) and to at least try to help the person understand where we are coming from. The Athiest, [sic] on the other hand, only seems to whine and complain to the believer(not a very nice feeling to have for another).”

    Really? Because from where I’m sitting it looks like this started with some folks who didn’t say anything about their religious beliefs one way or another discussing ways in which the article could have been more neutral, and then the discussion was derailed by a handful of “believers” who decided to take this as an opportunity to proselytizer, put down anyone who doesn’t agree with them, and whine about being oppressed.

  10. Kuhn,
    The Screwtape letters by C.S. Lewis would be a real eyeopener for you BUT I doubt if you would go anywhere near it. And yet the book was written about people such as yourselves who have been totally bamboozled.

  11. Why go for the bone when you can get the whole saint, the car she drove up in, the street she drove on, and the whole intersection to boot? We’re ready to meet you at the crossroads of life, take your hand and make sure you don’t stray beyond the white lines, and make sure you arrive safely on the other side of the street. The Southern Pedestrian church presents only the sign of the little white man, never a red hand, to those waiting to cross the street. Don’t be fooled by imitators who can only offer old German dudes in funny outfits, nuns who are scarier than any slasher flick, and priests you just don’t want to leave your kid alone with. The Southern Pedestrian church is the real deal, it’s religion without dogma nor catma, no dithering over crap that no one but a drug-crazed seminarian could understand. Just push the button, we’ll do the rest.

  12. Proselytizing can be just as intrusive and unwelcome as an atheist “whining.” I’m not an atheist, and I respect others’ beliefs – as long as they don’t start telling me what I should believe. It’s unwelcome, whether its from an atheist or a “believer”. I’m content in my own religion, thank you very much.

  13. lifelongberkeleyan and Jon – who have apparently both gone out of their way to insult me and some other person – are wrong in their guess that I am “Name Withheld”. I think that there is some irony to that.

    For the record, I think that complaints about how Berkeleyside wrote this article are misguided. No religious group puts pressure on Berkeleyside to write in that style. I think they were trying to be polite. Thoughtful discussion of how discourse about religion fits in to society can be interesting, though.

  14. A “believers” reaction to an athiest is always one of concern (not a bad feeling to have for another) and to at least try to help the person understand where we are coming from. The Athiest, on the other hand, only seems to whine and complain to the believer(not a very nice feeling to have for another). Believers really do care about non-believers. I mean we are talking about the very long existence that is AFTER this very short existence. At least we aren’t selfish about eternal life. At least we really want you to be there with us enjoying all of its beauty and joy. What is really so horrible about that! Well there is someone who DOESN’T want you there. I will tell you honestly why you react this way. You are not possessed by the devil ((inside you) but you are obsessed by him( on the outside). Everytime a believer starts to speak the truth to you, the evil one jumps in the mix and immediately starts obsessing your mind against “the truth”. Look at it this way. The devil is like a ferocious beast. For a christian he is collared with a chain and he can only get so close to us but not harm us. For this reason a Christian should never fear the devil unless we step away from God. Now the athiest is within reaching distance of the beast and he pretty much can have his way with you because you choose to operate and live your life outside of Gods grace (protection.) This is called free-will. The best thing the devil does to a non-believer is convince them he doesn’t exist, then he can play havoc with your life and all the while you think it is you making very smart choices. Not!!!
    Free choice given by God is a gift but many hang themselves with it. Wake up before your life ends.

  15. @Jon…Name withheld”,,,,,,,,,just about tells it all,,,,,,,,bet your real name is “Thomas”,,,,,,,,

    I bet the last one is Lord.

  16. Good lord, why all the sniping? I am not even Christian, and I don’t have any problem with stating “this is a holy relic.” Or that it was from Mary Magdalene or that she saw Jesus resurrect himself, or whatever. For those who believe, it is 100% true. For the rest of us who don’t believe this, perhaps we can respect their beliefs and just not take pot shots. We can say this is a true statement of their belief and leave it at that.

  17. I teach religion to 5th graders and one of the first questions I get at the beginning of each new school year is how could God who loves everyone put anyone in Hell? For all you non-believing athiests who I suspect are “waiting” to believe IF they see something worth believing when they die, listen up! Whatever we gather as our faith in this life we take to our last moments here on earth. If you have desired to believe and seek that belief, that faith will be at your last moments. If you “refuse” to open your heart and believe, then you(your soul) becomes Hardened “against” God the creator of everything. When YOU die (and you will) you will find God and His eternal Kingdom (Kingdom means NOW), is, for you, offensive and distasteful. The movie Ghost may have come out of Hollywood but the portrayal of demons coming for that soul was very real and I suspect based on many of the Saints writings who were shown these moments to warn us. The only “ficticious” part was the man resisting, you see a soul void of God cannot resist joining the souls in Hell because that is the road they chose on earth, what they actually desire (evil) . Our journey to Heaven or Hell begins here on earth. Use the time wisely, your choice DOES last forever!

  18. To the naysayers and those who refuse to believe. Live and let live. If you don’t want to believe, fine. Go elsewhere with your beliefs. It’s quite simple to do.

  19. @ lifelongberkeleyan ––– No, I mean anyone who feels the need to foist their beliefs on other people. So far, that’s only been the religious folks. Non-religious folks have just been asking for the wording to be altered to not favor one view or the other.

  20. To those who use the word “fairy tale” to describe these things, just google “catholic miracles” and see that God has not stopped manifesting His presence to those who seek Him with a sincere heart.

  21. Are there little anti-Christian groups that scour the Web in search of religious articles and then make snide, sarcastic and hurtful comments? Or are there just lots of atheism true believers who love using the same little buzz works: fairy tale, illusion, invisible man in the sky, etc. They are as bad as the most self-righteous preachers.

  22. Probably heard this a million times but it says it all.” For those who believe no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t believe no explanation is possible”.

    When Christ appeared to His apostles after His resurrection, the Apostle Thomas was not present. When told Christ had appeared, he could not believe and doubted. Finally Christ appeared when Thomas WAS present and he fell to his knees and said,” My Lord and My God, I believe, help me in my unbelief”. Jesus told the apostles , “Blessed are they who believe without seeing”.

    All of you that have to “see” to believe would do well to repeat Thomas’ prayer. Try it….God will open your heart and you will be able to believe. What do you have to loose except quite possibly eternal separation from God for all eternity. For me this would be a no brainer!

  23. Lisa,

    Is it gross to place an urn full of ashes and small bones on the mantle?

    I am agnostic, raised in the Catholic Church, so I have seen many relics, and never experienced any disgust, quite the opposite. I have great respect for how Catholics deal with death and funerals. Even as a very young child I was never grossed out praying in a room with a cold, dead body and then having a wonderful wake celebration afterward.

    Have you folks ever visited SF Saint Ignatius cathedral which has several relics of saints presented in glorious altars.

    Is a native American burial ground gross?

  24. 1.) Yes.
    2.) No.
    3.) No.
    4.) Depends.

    But that’s just common sense talking.

    I don’t think most Berkeleyside readers are concerned with being told what to think, especially from this source. This website is remarkably impartial on almost every issue no matter how heated the debate gets.

  25. Will St. Mary Magdalen’s relic be brought to the southern California area, Los Angeles, or Orange county areaa by any chance or blessing?

  26. I wrote this article. I played it straight because it seems to be such a sensitive issue. Either you 1) Believe in Mary Magdalene, 2) Believe that she witnessed Jesus’ resurrection, 3) Believe that this is her actual shin bone, saved for 2,000 years or 4) You do not believe. I figured people could make their own assessment. They didn’t need any qualifiers to tell them what to think.

  27. @ Frederick ––– I agree completely. Surprised to see Berkeleyside making statements in such wholesale agreement with the Christian Gospel. But I’m more inclined to believe that it was poor word choice than the endorsement of any particular religion.

  28. Imagine a picture of Mt. Zion captioned:

    “…where Moses allegedly received the commandments…”

    When the words “Mt. Zion” and “Moses” and “commandments” or “Jesus” and “resurrection” appear together the context is clearly one of either myth or belief. Only a fool, a real one, not an alleged one, would need clarification.

  29. It is amazing how many fervent Christians there are in Berkeley. We were blessed by the precious relic of the Saint. We came away feeling so blessed, so peaceful. It was truly beautiful. And we do indeed believe without hesitation that she was the first to see the risen Christ..that she was the Apostle to the Apostles. St. Mary Magdalene pray for us.

  30. “The first person to witness Jesus’ resurrection”? Can’t Berkeleyside, for the sake of its many readers who don’t believe in fairy tales, muster a timid little “alleged to be”?

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