In the heart of Provence, between Aix-en-Provence and Toulon, 50 kms from Marseille, is the sanctuary of the Sainte-Baume, is one of the most ancient sanctuaries of France.
As of the first centuries, Christians, penitents, saints, kings and popes came to the grotto of the Sainte Baume on pilgrimage to be near Saint Mary Magdalene. Tradition says that after the Ascension of Christ, she left Palestine to escape persecution. Her journey brought her to France, with Saint Lazarus, where she lived for 30 years, offering her life for the conversion of sinners before placing her soul in the hands of the Father.
The Dominican monks have been the guardians of this sanctuary since 1295. Pilgrims can share in their divine offices, meet with them, and discover Saint Mary Magdalene as well as to pray at the grotto. As desired by Saint Dominic in 1215 the Dominicans are “preachers”, and an order of beggars.
They say: “At the Sainte Baume one can admire the beauty of creation, marvelously preserved; there, one can receive the heritage of a living tradition that has marked for centuries our European and Provençal culture; there, the Gospel seems concrete and close to us, thanks to the testimony of the sinner who became a disciple and apostle.”