Background and Other Interesting Notes

Mother Isabel Burke is a member of the Priestly Order of Mary Magdalene, an order of celibate women priests devoted to the search for truth in all things. Mary Magdalene is their patroness because she was a woman maligned by untruths for centuries.

Oa of Virimund has her ancestral roots in the African country of Mali, a region called Sikasso, where French is spoken along with Bambara, a dialect of Mandikan, which is the unofficial language of Mali.

The liturgical calendar used by Isabel is based on the one in use today in the United States. Liturgical calendars change over the years, and according to the region and its ethnicity. Probably in half a millennium, the calendar would change, but except for the addition of the solemnity of Saint Teresa of Calcutta (who is not yet in actuality a saint) the calendar has been used as it currently exists.

For more information on fact, speculation, and research about this mysterious and intriguing woman, here are some resources to seek out:

  • Mary Magdalene
    A website full of pictures, links, quotes.
  • Mary Magdalene, Beyond the Myth, by Esther de Boer.
    An exploration by a Dutch writer of the facts and the fiction surrounding Mary Magdalene.
    Another exhaustive website with information on a host of fascinating topics, including a “Body of Myth” section.
  • Mary, Called Magdalene, Margaret George.
    A highly individualistic fictional interpretation of the Magdalene story, rich with convincing historical detail.
  • The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, translated from the Coptic by Jean-Yves LeLoup.
    The Gospel of Mary was discovered in 1896 in Cairo, fifty years before the Nag Hammadi discovery of the Gnostic Gospels.  This is fascinating reading, with in-depth commentary, and is important in understanding what is actually known and simply surmised—or invented, as in the best-selling Da Vinci Code—about the historical Mary of Magdala.