St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was born Caterina, on April 2, 1566. She was an only child, and her parents came from prominent families in Italy. At a young age, Caterina was drawn to the Holy Eucharist, and she resolved to serve God as a consecrated virgin after she received her first Communion at age 10.
In 1582, Caterina entered a traditional Carmelite monastery, where Holy Communion was administered daily, which was unusual at the time. When she received her religious habit the following year, Caterina took the name Mary Magdalene.
From March to May in 1584, Mary became seriously ill, and was believed to be dying. On May 27, she made her religious vows, while lying on a pallet near death.
When she recovered, Mary had an extended mystical experience, lasting 40 days, and involving extraordinary experiences, which her religious sisters recorded in a set of manuscripts.
Throughout her life, Mary had many other spiritual occurrences. Many of her experiences were documented, although Mary was a private person, and would have preferred to keep these to herself.
Mary did want to call attention to God’s love, which she saw as tragically unappreciated and unreciprocated by humanity. She is remembered for making dramatic gestures, like running through the halls of her monastery, or ringing the bells in the middle of night, while proclaiming the urgent need for all people to awaken to God’s love and return it.
Mary Magdalene died on May 25, 1607, after suffering an excruciating illness for nearly three years. She was canonized by Pope Clement IX in 1669.