This is a chaplet I’ve used during Holy Week in the past. It is themed on Mary Magdalene. This is a week that she will be very involved in and so it seems appropriate to use it during Holy Week.
The design of this chaplet is simple, following earlier Anglican chaplet designs. It has a primary cross, a small medal of Mary Magdalene, and blood red glass beads. There is a small Celtic knot serving as a three-way connector but does not have prayers assigned to it.
The style of the cross is Celtic, but more importantly it has a feminine feel to it. The lattice work is of hearts, which reminds me of love and devotion.
It is tricky to find a good medal for Mary Magdalene. There are of course many modern medals that reflect unbiblical notions like those found in the Da Vinci code. I want to completely avoid those! I really wanted something small, and the standard Catholic medal is ok, but I wanted something a little different.
The standard Catholic medal shows Mary on her knees at the foot of the cross. One problem with these is that many of them are double sided with St Martha on the other side. Its a match that reflects the confusion between Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany. These medals are intended to honor Mary and Martha of Bethany. This is unfortunately why you very see icons or medals or any art of Mary of Bethany (without Martha), though there are a couple modern icons of Mary of Bethany from the Eastern Orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox have a standard icon of Mary Magdalene that looks like many other icons. She is usually shown in a veil and holding an ointment jar. Its an interesting difference between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox medals. The Catholic medals all recall Good Friday, while the Eastern Orothodox medals with the ointment jar point toward Easter morning. The medal is very similar to this small icon. Mary Magdalene is holding her ointment jar and the inscription is in Russian. Its about charm bracelet size, about 5/8 inch.
The red beads are obviously because red is a color repeatedly associated with Mary Magdalene. In western iconography and painting, Mary Magdalene is usually shown with red hair and wearing red clothing, like these paintings.
Mary is shown in all of these works in red. In the painting below she also has red hair. The general idea usually proposed is that the west shows her in red because she was confused for so long with the sinful woman. However, given her association with red eggs in the East and the frequency of red in her Eastern paintings, it does make me wonder if the red isn’t because of her role as witness to both the passion and resurrection. Of course, once characteristics were established for the apostles, St Paul, Mary Magdalene and the Blessed Mother, they were repeated to allow people to easily identify figures in paintings. The color red became Mary’s signature much like wild hair became the signature of St Andrew and the color blue was associated with the Blessed Mother. As we know for the others, these attributes became established very early. The link between the Magdalene and the sinful woman came from Gregory the Great in the sixth century, but I would think that these attributes were probably set before then. It is just possible that the color red became associated with her because she is always the first person listed as a witness to the Passion.