There is a strong religious folk tradition connecting the Black Virgins to the medieval Knights Templar and also with Mary Magdelene. A famous Black Virgin - la Madone des Fenestres (the Madonna of the Windows), near St-Martin-de-Vesubie (one site where many Templars were massacred) was believed by folk tradition in the area to have originally been brought to southern France by Mary Magdelene. In Southern Provenšal tradition, the Black Madonna is associated with St. Sara, the patron saint of the Gypsies. She was said to be the black assistant who accompanied the three Marys to France when they fled from the Holy Land after the Crucifixion. In local gypsy tradition, she is said to have been a gypsy (some say 'Egyptian') woman who helped them to land safely. A cult of St. Sara persists today at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, one of the earliest Magdalene sites in France.
We notice that Mary Magdelene is depicted above with a rough hewn cross, an alabaster jar, and a skull.
The book of Matthew mentions Mary Magdalene:
27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children. 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. [...]27:65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
The book of Mark tells us:
15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 15:41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 15:44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 15:45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the book of Luke:
7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 7:39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 7:46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 7:48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 7:49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. [...]
23:55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 24:8 And they remembered his words, 24:9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
Finally, we find in the book of John:
19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
These passages have been used to back a speculation that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus and had children and that these children are the "Royal Bloodline," or the Sang Graal. It has been suggested that the Cathars promoted this idea. However, there are a few problems with this idea. First of all, Raynaldus tells us about the Cathars:
They said also, in their secret doctrine, (in secreto suo) that that Christ who was born in the visible, and terrestrial Bethlehem, and crucified in Jerusalem, was a bad man, and that Mary Magdalene was his concubine; and that she was the woman taken in adultery, of whom we read in the gospel. For the good Christ, as they said, never ate, nor drank, nor took upon him true flesh, nor ever was in this world, except spiritually in the body of Paul.
It is indeed likely that the Cathars did not believe that the "historical Jesus" was accurately depicted in the New Testament. Clearly, they did believe that the "Jesus" of the New Testament was a fraud - and that the gospels themselves were fraudulent. We ought to pay some attention to the fact that the Cathars may have believed that the Great Work had been accomplished by the apostle Paul, and that Paul may, indeed, have been a pseudonym given to the man around whom the Jesus legend was accreted. In other words, was Paul the REAL Jesus?
In the teachings of Paul, it is evident from textual analysis that Paul did not know of a "Christ" as a historical personage in the body of a man called Jesus as represented in the New Testament. He knew of a "Christ" spirit that was an "anointing" of gnosis. When his writings are analyzed with all the tools of linguistics, and the additions, glosses, and interpolations removed (not to mention the epistles that are clearly not Pauline), we find a series of teachings that is most definitely Gnostic in flavor and texture. Not only that, but the teacher that Paul referred to had quite a different history than the Jesus of the New Testament.
Raynaldus' remark about Mary Magdalene does irreparable damage to many popular theories of the present time: that she was the "wife of Jesus," and that they produced children together and that these children are the origin of the idea of the "Sang Real," or "Holy Blood." The point is, if Raynaldus had simply reported that Mary Magdalene was the "mistress" or wife of Jesus, and that they had children, then that would have been sufficiently damning. If he had reported that the Cathars worshipped John the Baptist as the true Christ that also would have been sufficiently damning. However, his version of what they believed was that 1) John the Baptist represented a demon and, and that 2) there was a "bad man" crucified in Jerusalem, who was connected to Mary Magdalene, but that it wasn't the "real" Jesus. So Raynaldus probably wasn't making it up. Clearly, the beliefs of the Cathars were something other than an idea that John the Baptist was the true Messiah, or that Jesus and Mary had children together, contrary to what present day expositors of "occult secrets of the Holy Blood, Holy Grail" would have us believe.
Nevertheless, a legend tells us that fourteen years after the death of Christ, Mary Magdalene was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars - along with Saints Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptised her), St. Sidonius ("the man born blind"), her maid Sara, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life in a cave known as Sainte-Baume. She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by angels as her only food, and died when she was 72. St. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments. She is feted on July 22.