St. Mary of Bethany - Honored in a Special Way

A Lovely Statue of St. Mary of Bethany
A New Tradition Honoring St. Mary of Bethany
The parishioners of St. Rosa de Lima's parish in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, Philippines have recently started a new tradition that gives recognition and remembrance to St. Mary of Bethany.  For many years, St. Mary of Bethany and St. Mary Magdalene were thought to be the same person, however, further study has prompted most biblical scholars to believe that they were separate individuals. In the most recent Roman Martyrology (2004), St. Mary of Bethany and St. Mary Magdalene have separate feast days ... one week apart from each other.  St. Mary Magdalene is honored on July 22 and one week later, on July 29, St. Mary of Bethany is honored along with her two siblings: St. Martha and St. Lazarus.

Symbolisms of St. Mary of Bethany
The picture above is a statue of St. Mary of Bethany that the Catholics of St. Rosa de Lima Church in the Philippines use for processions on special occasions and as a reminder of this holy lady who chose to ignore housework for a while to learn all she could from Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). 

In the photo, the flask of perfumed oil and long braid of hair symbolize the event six days before Passover, when Jesus came to Bethany to visit the siblings and Mary anointed his feet with the oil and then dried His anointed feet with her hair (which annoyed Judas Iscariot).  (John 12:1-7).

Other Anointing Stories in the Gospels
This story of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus' feet with perfumed oil may very well be connected to the anointing in Bethany stories found in Mark 14:3-9 and Matthew 26:6-13.

The story found in Luke 7:36-38, of the sinful women who bathed Jesus' feet with her tears is usually considered to be a different story all together.

The Bethany Sisters:  St. Mary of Bethany and St. Martha
Holy Week Procession in Santa Rosa City, Philippines

Procession with Statue of St. Mary of Bethany During Holy Week of 2012

Santa Rosa de Lima Parish
City of Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines
July 29 Entry of the 2004 Martyrologium Romanum 


  1. To Christoffer: In the 2004 R.M., Lazarus is no longer listed on December 17. A few shifts/changes were made in the 2001/2004 editions. While Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene for many years were considered to be the same person, they are now counted as separate individuals. Some debates about this continue; however, I stand by the Church's stand on this. For more information, you might want to purchase a copy of the 2004 R.M., or contact the U.S.C.C.B. Thank you for your note!


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