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Center for Action and Contemplation

Course Description

An 8-week online course designed to challenge and expand your view of Mary Magdalene and her role in the Gospels. Learn what made Mary one of Jesus’ most important and beloved disciples and discover her legacy as an apostle to our times—revealing a path of conscious love that we too are invited to walk.

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to Our Own Times explores one of Christianity’s most courageous women and an important disciple of Jesus who truly embodied his nondualistic approach and deep understanding of the value of the feminine.

Mary Magdalene is commonly misunderstood or even overlooked, but who was this woman who earned the title “Apostle to the Apostles”? While history has often portrayed her—incorrectly—as a prostitute, there is much to discover about this woman who walked so closely with Jesus. This course will explore what her life and example can teach us about the sacrament of conscious love at the heart of the Gospel mystery.

Peeling away centuries of erroneous speculation and conjecture about Mary Magdalene, Cynthia Bourgeault correctly focuses on how Mary Magdalene, above anyone else, understood and lived what Jesus taught.

Learning Objectives

  • Cultivate a depth of love in your daily life through reflection and engagement with contemplative teachings and practices
  • Expand your awareness of Mary Magdalene and what she reveals about the nature of conscious love
  • Develop your contemplative practice to engage and embody these teachings
  • Connect and learn with other spiritual seekers

“Cynthia Bourgeault’s profoundly beautiful wisdom in Christian mysticism is life-changing.”

— Harvey V.

Course Impact

Participants enroll in our online contemplative courses, like Mary Magdalene, for many reasons.  

Some said Cynthia’s view of this Christian mystic totally transformed their understanding of God. Many felt the practices in conscious love and nondual thinking helped them let go of judgment and take a more loving stance toward themselves and others. 

Participants who engaged fully with the course shared that they:  

  • Found a more inclusive Christian faith — one that empowers women and is backed by scripture and theology. 
  • Became more comfortable navigating uncertainty with contemplative practices like kenosis (emptying out) that can be easily integrated into their daily routines. 
  • Learned how to choose a loving response in tense or stressful situations, instead of reverting to a worldview of winners or losers (nondual consciousness). 
  • Learned how to read the Bible in a more thoughtful and loving way, and discovered other Christian texts that mainstream religion has forgotten or excluded.  

Course Schedule

Below you will find the course schedule for all upcoming offerings. You can register or sign up to be notified of an upcoming course by clicking the buttons below.

September 4, 2024 – October 15, 2024
Start Date
October 23, 2024
8 weeks
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Course Details

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to Our Own Times is an 8-week online course. Students should expect to invest 4–6 hours of work each week on course material, reading assignments, online discussions with other students, and time for personal reflection.

  • This course is taught in English.
  • There are no pre-requisites for this course.
  • Learn more about the technical requirements for taking this course.

Students will have access to course content for the duration of the course. Course content will be available four weeks after the course ends.

While not required reading for this course, some students may find it beneficial to read Cynthia Bourgeault’s book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene alongside course content.

Financial Assistance

To apply for financial assistance, please complete the online Financial Assistance Form at least 1 week before registration is scheduled to close. Please do not register for the online course until your request for financial assistance has been processed.

This is the course trailer.

Course Overview

Each week students will explore a new topic of study through an introduction (including an inner task and chant for the week), teaching material, a contemplative practice, and student discussions. Students can progress through each week at their own pace.

This 8-week online course is designed so you can bring the teachings, contemplative practices, and conscious work into your own routine and deepen its impact on your life.


  • Week 1 — Mary Magdalene: The Making of a False Myth
    Cynthia introduces us to this misunderstood apostle and explores how Christianity conflated her with a prostitute (beginning with Gregory the Great’s sermon in 594). She’ll also share current feminist scholarship on Mary Magdalene and her place in the Gospels.
  • Week 2 — Apostle to the Apostles: Mary Magdalene in the Canonical Gospels
    Cynthia traces the story of Mary Magdalene in the canonical Gospels, from being healed of “demonic possession” to witnessing the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.
  • Week 3 — Nondual Master: Mary Magdalene in the Wisdom Gospels
    Common misconceptions about the term Gnostic and a review of the accounts of Mary in the Gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene.
  • Week 4 — Mary Magdalene and the Escape from Egoic Consciousness
    The trajectory of the spiritual path is described in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene as a gradual process of learning to see with “the eye of the heart” and becoming “fully human”—the embodiment of nondual consciousness.
  • Week 5 — The Path of Conscious Love
    The path of conscious love as modeled by Mary Magdalene and Jesus. Cynthia discusses Jesus’ celibacy and explores the way of the heart as the alchemy of transformation: agape is eros transformed by kenosis.
  • Week 6 — Mary Magdalene, Jesus, and the Sacrament of Love
    The Cloud of Unknowing describes contemplation as a level of consciousness, a whole way of viewing the world. Cynthia explores Mary Magdalene’s exemplary path of embodying the mystery of love as a transforming force.
  • Week 7 — Mary Magdalene: Apostle to Our Times
    Amid a cultural upheaval against patriarchy, Mary’s example can help us reclaim a Christianity that is not repressive but generous.
  • Week 8 — Reclaiming Mary Magdalene in Christian Liturgy
    Cynthia explains her own work to reclaim Mary’s role in the Gospel stories and shares with us her beautiful and moving Magdalenic liturgy.

This is a sample video from the course.

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